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watch out for the ASA’s ‘big five’

2 May 2013

On 30 April 2013, the Advertising Standards Authority (‘ASA’) published its annual report. This for the first time set out its ‘big five’ regulatory priorities it aims to tackle in the coming year:

  • ‘free trials’ that actually cost
  • daily deals
  • misleading pricing
  • misleading testimonials; and
  • misleading health claims.

The report reveals that 70% of cases the ASA dealt with last year were about misleading advertising, rather than harmful or offensive advertising. The industry body received 31,298 complaints about 18,990 ads, which led to 3,700 campaigns being changed or withdrawn.

There have been many innovations lately in the fields of consumer and celebrity testimonials via social media, differential and pricing, and daily deals. Businesses engaging in any of the above activities, especially where the marketing approach is edgy, should seek advice before running such marketing, to avoid becoming one of the high profile cases the ASA will be seeking to highlight in its next annual report.

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