#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 7°C Saturday 6 March 2021

Adverts in breach: Healing bracelets, shoes that tone and cowboys in vans

Twenty-one complaints were upheld by the ASAI, Ireland’s advertising watchdog, in it’s latest complaints bulletin.

A complaint was made about these ladies' toning shoes at Lidl.
A complaint was made about these ladies' toning shoes at Lidl.
Image: Lidl.ie

“WHAT’S YOUR OLD van saying about you?… Cow cow cow cow cow cow cow… cowboys” – just one of a total of 21 complaints made and upheld by Ireland’s advertising watchdog in it’s latest complaints bulletin.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) outlined the various print, online, television and brochure advertisements that breached the Code of Standards for Advertising, Promotional and Direct Marketing in Ireland.


The motor company had its knuckles rapped for its radio advertisement for the Renault van range that posed the question:

What’s your old van saying about you?
Cow cow cow cow cow cow cow… Cowboys.

The complainants believed it was inappropriate to suggest that anybody driving an old van was a “cowboy”. The ASAI upheld the complaint and and labelled the ad as “inappropriate and offensive”.

Renault defended themselves by saying: “Van drivers were known for their particular sense of humour”.

Bite A Bargain

A complaint was made against an advertisement by Bite a Bargain for a ‘secret santa mystery gift’ that cost just €39 but had a maximum of €315 worth of goods inside and a minimum of €185. They advert also said:

You get great products from brands like Revlon, Babyliss and iMunky all in one big grab-bag of a present. You don’t know what you’ve got until you open the box. And that’s just part of the fun.

All the complaints said the retail value of the contents of the mystery box did not match the value suggested by the advertisers, with most of the complainants believing that the contents were worth less than €50. In addition, they said that they had not received any of the branded items mentioned in the advertising.

The ASAI upheld the complaints and stated that the advertising must not appear in the same format again.


A woman disputed Lidl’s advertising for ‘Ladies’ Toning Shoes, €24.99′. The ad read:

Toning effect: With a multilayered rounded sole creating imbalance in the foot, causing the leg muscles to work harder to maintain stability

The complainant said that the advertisers were claiming that the toning shoes aided muscle toning and disputed that the product could deliver this effect.

The advertisers said that it had never been their intention to mislead their customers and that they did not claim the shows would deliver the desired effect through wear alone and they had to be worn whilst exercising to achieve results.

The ASAI upheld the complaint and noted that the advertising must “not appear in the same format again without adequate substantiation for the claims being made”.

McCabe’s Pharmacy

A complaint against McCabe’s Pharmacy was upheld after an advert on their webpage suggesting that a ‘Magnetic Therapy Silver Wire Bracelet’ costing €24.95 could “heal, provide natural pain relief, and improve sleep”. The advertisers went on to mention some medical symptoms and injuries that could also be managed using the various magnetic therapies.

The complainant queried whether there was any scientific evidence available to support the claims made and the Complaints Committee upheld his view.

McCabe’s Pharmacy have now removed the advert.

This is the full list of all the complaints in the ASAI’s latest bulletin.

Related: Avonmore, Aer Lingus and Eircom breached advertising codes>

About the author:

Amy Croffey

Read next:


This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel