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Sunday Business Post ad about 'young and dynamic team of journalists' was ageist, watchdog rules

A complaint about a radio ad for the newspaper was made to the ASAI.

THE SUNDAY BUSINESS Post has fallen foul of the advertising watchdog after an advertisement describing its “young and dynamic” journalists was considered ageist.

A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) about a radio advertisement for the Sunday newspaper, which asked readers to reconsider their perception of the publication.

In the ad, a narrator describes how the newspaper’s ”young and dynamic team of journalists change laws, shape debate and write the stories that matter”.

However, a member of the public contacted the authority after she felt the ad was discriminatory on the grounds of age.

She considered that the description of a “young and dynamic team of journalists” implied that the newspaper only employed younger people, and that older people were not dynamic.

The complainant also told the ASAI that she was “disgusted” by the advertisement.

In response, the Sunday Business Post said that the ad in question had been brought to the attention of its interim editor in the early part of 2019 and removed at the time.

The newspaper said that it had nothing further to add when asked to comment on the concerns expressed by the complainant to the ASAI.

In its conclusions, the ASAI’s complaints committee noted that the ad had been removed following a complaint by one of its readers.

The committee also noted that the advertisers did not provide any comment on the complainant’s concerns, as well as the absence of any information on the age profile of its journalists to substantiate the claim in the ad.

As part of its deliberations, the committee considered that the words “young” and “dynamic”, when used in conjunction with one another, were open to interpretation.

It considered that, on balance, the words were mutually exclusive in the context of the advertisement.

But the ASAI also noted that the Advertising Code required that ads should avoid causing offence on a number of grounds, including age.

They considered that it was likely that the reference to age would reasonably give rise to offence and on that basis, and found the Sunday Business Post in breach of the code.

However, as the advertisement had been withdrawn, the ASAI ruled that no further action should be taken and asked the newspaper to avoid causing offence on grounds of age in future.

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