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’.