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Avonmore, Aer Lingus and Eircom breached advertising codes

The watchdog has found against a number of companies, according to its latest Complaints Bulletin.

Avonmore got in trouble for its whipped cream recipe guides.
Avonmore got in trouble for its whipped cream recipe guides.
Image: Whipped Cream via Shutterstock

IRELAND’S ADVERTISING WATCHDOG upheld a number of complaints against companies, its latest complaints bulletin has revealed.

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.

Aer Lingus

A complaint about an Aer Lingus seat sale was upheld by the committee as the company failed to supply specific information on routes, prices and discounts requested.

The complainant had said the advertisements for the 50 per cent sale were misleading.

“As the discount claims in the advertisement had not been substantiated, the Committee considered the advertisement was in breach of the Code,” the watchdog said, ordering the company not to use the ad again in its current form.

A second complaint about business class flights during a November “break away sale” was also upheld by the ASAI.

Part of the complaint was actually raised by the watchdog itself which questioned the availability of USA business class fares. ” The email had issued on the 13 November 2012, with valid travel dates 1 January until 31 of March 2013. The 90 day advance purchase requirement for USA business class fare would automatically exclude all of January and ten days of February from the business class offer,” it said.

Greyhound

A complaint against waste company Greyhound Recycling was upheld because it advertised a plan to customers claiming it was based on an analysis of the amount of rubbish generated but it did not always offer the best value.

The complainant said that the information she received was inaccurate. She said that the plan proposed by them would have cost her almost 100 per cent more than the alternative plans available.

The ASAI told the firm not to use the letter advertisement in the same format again.

Glanbia

Avonmore had its knuckles rapped for not including all ingredients in the product description of its whipped cream on Christmas time recipe guides. The complainant noted that the cream contained beef gelatine and other ingredients unsuitable for vegetarians. He considered it a “serious omission not to draw the attention of consumers to this fact”.

The advertisers said that the complimentary recipe guide was given out as part of an in-store sampling demonstration and its purpose was to give consumers recipes and serving suggestions for the festive season. They said that they did not declare ingredients, nutritional or allergen declarations on recipe guides as these would have been clearly and appropriately stated on their packs, which would have been available to the consumer in-store and on the demonstration stand.

However, the watchdog found against the company as “consumers could understand that the claims in the advertising meant that they had taken the cream, whipped it and placed it in a tub and that no other steps or ingredients were involved”.

Radisson Blu Farnham Estate Hotel

A woman who wished to book a Saturday night in the hotel complained to the ASAI because she was not offered a deal advertised through an email. The complainant considered that she had been misled as the message stated that the offer was available seven days a week.

The committee noted that the offer related to an ‘up to’ 30 per cent discount off Bed and Breakfast rates and that the rate quoted was a ‘from’ rate. They also recognised, however, that the offer had not been available on seven days of the week as outlined in the terms and conditions and upheld the complaint. It told the hotel:

Where offers were presented as being available each day of the week, the advertisers should ensure that there was a reasonable level of availability on each day of the week during the promotional period.

Flogas

A complaint about a winter heating system offer was upheld but the advertiser had already moved to change the details of the advertisement.

Berocca

A customer complained that the Berocca Boost product, which contains guarana, claims to be caffeine-free on its website. The complaint was upheld by the committee and the company noted that the caffeine-free claim should only have been related to its Berocca Performance product. The website will be updated accordingly, it said. However, this was not completed until March 2013, months after the initial response.

The Complaints Committee reminded the advertisers that there was an onus on them to ensure that their advertising was in conformity with the Code and expressed their disappointment at the failure to amend information in a timely manner. They upheld the complaint.

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Golden Sun

The ads for sunbeds were the subject of a complaint because they claimed “positive benefits on your health”. The watchdog agreed with the complainant that media reports used in the advertisement did not constitute adequate substantiation for medical or health claims. They noted that the article which appeared on www.meschinohealth.com dealt with supplementation and Vitamin D rather than sunbed use and in addition was not a research paper.

In the circumstances they did not consider that the claims in the leaflet had been substantiated and considered the advertising in breach of the Code, ruling that it must not appear again in its current form.

Eircom

Following a complaint, the watchdog outlined its concerns that Eircom was not indicating sufficiently that its Broadband bundles were only available to Next Generation Broadband (NGB) exchanges. They also noted that there was no indication on the advertisers’ website of what products were available to other customers; given the high percentage of non-NGB exchanges, they considered that this was a significant exclusion.

The complainant had ordered the product but then saw his Broadband speed drop from 7mb to just 1mb.

Dunnes Stores

The retailer failed to respond to a complaint from a customer who was disappointed that an offer on alcohol was not available until two days after she visited the store. She said the writing on the advertising brochure was “extremely small”.

The complaints committee noted the placement of the small print (under the advertiser’s end banner) and its size. They considered that neither the presentation nor the font size was in conformity wit the Code.

Complaints against SMA Follow-on Milk, Dealbuzz.ie and Gateway Advertising were upheld in part.

Update: Hyundai apologises for ‘pipe job’ ad after major criticism

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