ASAI complaints bulletin highlights breach in alcohol advertising standards

The ASAI has examined more than 27,000 advertisements with an overall compliance rate of 98 percent

The Complaints Committee is an independent arm of the ASAI (By cottonbro studio via Pexels)

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland’s (ASAI) independent Complaints Committee has released its latest complaints bulletin, which contains six case reports on complaints recently investigated by the organisation.

Three of the six cases were upheld in full and the other three cases were upheld in part. Advertisements across online, out of home, social media and radio were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to alcoholic drinks misleading, substantiation and promotional marketing practices.

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Posts on the advertiser’s social media account featured a woman in various scenarios. A complainant considered that two video posts featuring the woman drinking were portraying alcohol as a tool for coping with interpersonal difficulties. The ASAI considered that it was both dangerous and inappropriate to portray alcohol as a tool for social anxiety.

The Complaints Committee is an independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and adjudicating on complaints submitted by the public, by an organisation, by a Government Department, or any other person or body. The Committee is made up of a range of experts from the advertising, media, education, consumer, and marketing sectors.

Orla Twomey, chief executive, ASAI, said: “The range and nature of advertisements in the latest complaints bulletin from the ASAI demonstrates the importance of our role to the Irish advertising industry, ensuring that advertisements are legal, truthful, decent and honest for all consumers. Ad complaints are assessed against the comprehensive Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications, and where appropriate, investigated.  A portion of complaints are brought to the Independent Complaints Committee to decide whether a breach of the Code has occurred.  High levels of compliance with these decisions, together with ASAI requests for ad amendments, demonstrates the industry’s commitment to high standards and responsible advertising. 

“The ASAI also provides a free and confidential copy advice service to the advertising industry to help them create responsible ads that adhere to the advertising code. If an advertiser, agency, or medium has any concerns about a marketing communications’ compliance with the ASAI’s Code, they can contact us and avail of the free and confidential copy advice service.”

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