An ASA complaint

June 23rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

A recent ASA decision:

Complaint:  The Facebook advertisement for Spark streaming television service featured numerous tablets of Whittaker’s chocolate products. A post by the Advertiser stated:

“Tell us which Lightbox show you can’t get enough of to be into win #BingeWatching chocolate goodies …”

Complainant, S. Vernon, said:  “the advertisement encouraged binge-eating sugar-filled foods to a population that is already struggling with its obesity.”

Oh dear. They promoted eating chocolate during binge TV sessions. How evil of Spark.

The ASA took the complaint seriously enough to respond, but not to have a formal ruling. The ASA Chair said:

The Chairman noted the Complainant’s view the advertisement encouraged binge eating. She disagreed.

The Chairman noted Lightbox offered a streaming television service that enabled subscribers to watch continuous advertisement-free programmes, as well as the ability to “binge watch” their favourite television series rather than watch them in weekly episodes on television.

However, the Chairman said there was nothing that suggested the chocolate itself shown in the advertisement should be consumed in one sitting, or binge-eaten. Rather, the Chairman was of the view the chocolate represented the amount that might be consumed over weeks of watching a series in weekly episodes.   

Sad they even have to spell it out!

Billboard in breach of the ASA

January 20th, 2014 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged in October on this strange billboard which appeared in Wellington, with no identified sponsor or publisher.

It seems an advocacy advertisement is required to identify the advertiser, so the Advertising Standards Authority found it is breach of their rules.

What is also interesting is that neither the advertiser nor the billboard company responded to the complaint. It does make you wonder who the advertiser is. Most people are happy to stand by their opinions.

100% failed

May 24th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

The national tourism agency has successfully defended a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority laid by Fiji-based sustainable transport researcher Peter Nuttall, which was not upheld.

Mr Nuttall laid the complaint in March and said New Zealand could be the most pristine environment in the world.

“But it ain’t. Instead, we are saddled with short-term, narrow-focused profit-driven free marketeers more interested in spin-doctoring a myth to the world,” he said.

Takes a special kind of person to try and sabotage his own country’s tourism campaign. No wonder he lives in Fiji.

His complaint was backed by controversial freshwater scientist Mike Joy, who made headlines in November when he questioned the integrity of 100% Pure.

You’re either being malicious, or a moron, if you take a slogan as a literal statement of fact.

I look forward to the Greens and their supporters complaining about the following slogans also:

  • Arkansas – The Natural State; how dare they claim to be natural when they have cities
  • Idaho – great Potatoes, Tasty Destinations; where is the peer reviewed evidence their potatoes are great?
  • Iowa – is this heaven?; a blatant false statement
  • Michigan – Pure Michigan; Will Nuttall and Joy complain about Michigan also?
  • Vermont, naturally; Another hideous false claim as they also have cities
  • Pure Russia; I suggest they complain in person to Mr Putin
  • Switzerland Get Natural; Gnomes are not natural
  • Maldives: Always Natural; Clearly false

I wonder if those other countries have to put up with the same idiocy?

Want to help highlight the silly complainers?

October 26th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Just been looking at all the complaints that the Advertising Standards Authority has had to deal with this year. There are a staggering 523 complaints, and reading through many of them, you see so many people with a total lack of sense of humour. For example:

The direct mail flyer showed a picture of a cow that had attempted to jump over a steel gate, but had got stuck half way. The position of the cow over the gate appears uncomfortable. Above the image is the heading “Rural broad band… no more obstacles”. Further information about the broadband packages is listed next to the image. …

Complainant, C. Bateman, said: in part “This image is disrespectful to animals, is offensive to anyone concerned about animal welfare and even if it’s meant to be “tongue in cheek” it is not even remotely humourous.”

Oh Good God. And that is one of the more sane complaints.

Anyway this has given me an idea for a regular feature – focusing on the idiotic complaints people send to to various regulatory bodies.

But I need some help to do this.

What I’m after is one or two people who will say once a week on alternate weeks go to the websites of the ASA, BSA and Press Council and have a quick skim of complaints. Then all you have to do is send me a link and/or an extract of the ones which are basically seriously demented or show someone totally lacking in humour.

If this appeals to you, just e-mail me. I think we’ll be doing a public service by highlighting the inanity of some of our serial complainers.

Probably looking to do one post a week highlighting no more than six inane complaints. I suspect a few names will reoccur!