The Independent Complaints Committee (ICC) of the ASAI has recently published its first Complaints Bulletin of 2017 which contains 17 case reports on complaints recently investigated.

The ASAI is the independent self-regulatory body for advertising in Ireland and the ICC is the committee responsible for considering and dealing with all complaints submitted in respect of advertising.

The advertisements complained involved various media including print, internet, SMS, social media, brochure advertising, outdoor and radio.

The ICC found 16 of the 17 advertisements complained were found to have been in breach of the ASAI Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland (see our previous blog on the ASAI’s code here. Various grounds of the Code were found to have been breached including standards relating to misleading advertising, decency and propriety, legality, fear and distress.

Among the complaints considered by the ICC were 92 complaints about an advertising campaign of the Irish Cancer Society. The campaign included “teaser” advertising using the wording “I want to get cancer”. The following day, the identity of the advertiser was revealed and further context was given to the campaign together with statistics regarding cancer.

Many of the complaints related to the wording used in the campaign, the fact that the identity of the advertiser was not initially apparent and the basis for the statistics given were queried.

The Committee held that certain elements of the campaign were in breach of the ASAI Code with regard to standards of decency and propriety and having regard for the potential cause for fear and distress. The ICC held that the advertisers had provided substantiation for the statistics used in the campaign so that element of the complaints was not upheld.

A copy of the ASAI’s complaint bullet can be found here.