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How do you stop an advertisement being banned?

24 September 2009

On Wednesday the ASA upheld a complaint, made by the Asbestos Watchdog, about the accuracy of the statistics quoted in the HSE’s ‘Asbestos: The Hidden Killer’ advertising campaign.  The HSE have stated that they are disappointed with the ASA’s decision. They consider it to be only on a technicality and they intend to request a review by the Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications.

This case shows how a single complaint by a body with a vested interest could potentially result in an entire campaign being banned from publication, despite an advertiser believing it has sufficient evidence to prove the claim. Many complaints to the ASA are upheld, and overturning an ASA decision on appeal will not be easy.

To minimise the risk of a successful complaint being made, advertisers need to be able to produce significant evidence to substantiate their claims and also seek legal advice both prior to embarking on any advertising campaign, and after receiving any complaint.

Considering the money (in this case public funds) which gets invested in advertising campaigns, is it too easy to get an advert banned?

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