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Complaint against i newspaper for ‘misleading’ claim of no celebrity gossip upheld

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against the i newspaper that its claim in a television advert that the paper does not contain “celeb gossip nonsense” is misleading.

The adjudication, published here, makes specific reference to the contents of the paper’s daily Caught and Social column, which the complainant felt was “dedicated to celebrity stories”.

In a defence advertising service Clearcast said i “concentrated on newsworthy stories without sidetracking readers to the kind of celebrity gossip published in red top newspapers and celebrity magazines” and believed the ad made this clear. It added that the complainant had misunderstood the claim to mean that there would be no mention of celebrities at all.

They said this was unrealistic because celebrities featured in a range of newsworthy stories that i reported on that were of significant interest.

But in its assessment the ASA upheld the complaint.

The ASA noted the Caught and Social column featured stories about celebrities and included sections entitled Scene & Heard, OMG, iquote and ichat that quoted celebrities and provided updates about where they had been and what they were doing. We considered that readers would understand from the ad that there was no celebrity gossip in i. However, we noted featured stories in two different publications from March included headings that stated “Alex fancies a pop at 007″, “Cilla moves with the times” and “Dame Helen and Russell snog for fans”. We considered that readers would interpret these stories as celebrity gossip and therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.

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Media Release: Social networks to fall under Advertising Standards Authority’s remit

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) could see its remit extended to cover marketing activity on companies’ websites and social networks, it was announced yesterday.

Says the Advertising Association’s (AA) release, which can be downloaded at this link:

The Advertising Association (AA) has submitted the industry’s recommendations to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), for the extension of the non-broadcast Advertising Code in digital media, which will be administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This landmark move for advertising self-regulation seeks to address societal concerns and will increase protection for consumers and children.

Marketing communications activity in paid-for space online is already covered by ASA. But the extended remit could come into force by Q3 2010.

A release from the ASA states:

Currently, the ASA’s online remit covers paid-for marketing communications such as pop-up and banner ads, paid-search and viral ads. However, nearly two thirds of the complaints that we receive about online marketing activity are not presently covered by the code. The proposed extension of our remit will plug this regulatory gap, ensuring that consumers enjoy the same level of protection on websites as they do in paid-for space.

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Express under fire for advertorials again

Only last week Journalism.co.uk reported how the Daily Express was criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for masking advertorials as features.

Yesterday, as reported by MediaGuardian and others, the Express again came under fire for a similar incident.

An advertisement for Goldshield’s Rozip took up the bottom half of a page, with an article on the qualities of the product sitting on top.

Previously the ASA investigated as to ‘whether the features had been controlled by the advertiser and also whether the claims made by the products were true or exaggerated’.

They came to the conclusion that ‘both publisher and advertiser were purposefully trying to get around elements of the advertising code by presenting the articles and adverts in this way’.

When criticised for unsubstantiated claims made by the Express journalist about the healing properties of the products, Goldshield’s Rozip responded that ‘they were not responsible’ for the contents of the article.

Monitoring staff at the ASA said that the advertisement and the article were clearly linked. As with the previous cases reported last week, Goldshield had booked the ad on the understanding that the editorial would also appear.

The ASA state that because of the ‘reciprocal arrangement’, Goldshield in fact had implicit control over the top half of the page and as such Goldshield was responsible for ensuring the contents of the entire page complied with the Code.

In the latest issue of Private Eye (August 21 – September 3) it was suggested that the Express might not be the only newspaper guilty of this tactic. On August 5, the Evening Standard printed a piece about a world cruise that the Eye described as an ‘unmarked advertorial’ – it fell opposite a full-page ad for the very same cruise. The Evening Standard article in question can be found at this link.

It seems no action has yet been taken against the Evening Standard; the Daily Express on the other hand has been told ‘the ad must not appear again in its current form’.

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OUT-LAW.com: complaints about online content and ads outstrip TV and newspapers, says ASA

May 1st, 2008 | No Comments | Posted by in Advertising, Editors' pick

The annual report from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has suggested that the number of complaints made to the body about online advertising is for the first time higher than those relating to TV or newspapers.

ASA received 2,980 complaints about the internet in 2007, though 72 per cent of these related to content and as such fell outside of the authority’s jurisdiction.

“Interestingly, these complaints are almost entirely about truth, accuracy, misleadingness, and availability – the ‘meat and drink’ of the ASA’s daily work on print and broadcast ads,” said Chris Smith, chairman of ASA.

“We hope for an early outcome to the detailed discussions under way within the industry, led by the Advertising Association, on the development of ways to ensure continued responsibility in advertising in new media settings.”

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