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Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Be careful with advertising your prices!

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Last week the Advertising Standards Authority (‘ASA’) upheld two complaints made against an on-line business which sells website domain names.  The advertisement emphasised their discounted prices, but only stated in very small print at the base of the page that “prices exclude VAT”, and “Additional Offer Terms and Conditions apply”.   Prospective customers would need to spot this subtle caveat for themselves, and then follow the link in order to discover that the discount applies only to the first year (after which the customer would be charged full price), and “when you register you will be charged for the first 24 months of your contract”.  Advertising prices

The business in question was not actually penalised by the ASA, but received a stern “ticking off” from them, and was told it may no longer display the advertisement in its current form.  In the future it will be required to quote VAT-inclusive prices (unless they have clearly stated that the deal is only intended for customers who pay no VAT or who may recover VAT); and that the provision that customers are billed for a 24-month contract at the time of registration should be clearly explained in the main body of the advertisement.

Please take care that your own on-line advertisements are not misleading in any way; and if you have any queries relating to advertising law, please contact us.

“Advergames” are subject to regulation too

Monday, June 4th, 2012

As you must be aware, businesses have started to advertise their products via computer games on their websites, and also on social media websites and as downloadable content or apps on mobile devices.  If you too are thinking of developing an “advergame” in order to advertise your goods or services, please note that as with any other on-line advertisement, you must abide by the CAP Code (the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing).

In 2008 for example, The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) investigated a football game available on the free games website Mousebreaker.  The game in question featured Carling lager branding, and was linked to the Carling lager website.  Carling’s parent company, Coors, had paid for the link.  The game, it turned out, was effectively an advert for an alcohol brand, and because over 25% of Mousebreaker’s audience is under the age of 18, it was held to breach Rule 18.15 of the CAP Code.

If you have any concerns or queries regarding the legality of your marketing strategies, please contact Jo Tall at jo@offtoseemylawyer.com.

Is your promotional material legal?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

As many of Off To See My Lawyer clients are running businesses related to the health industry, we thought you may be interested to hear the outcome of a particular recent Advertising Standards Agency enquiry.  Six complaints were made about the claims of Miruji Health & Wellbeing’s product “Sit & Slim”.  Miruji Health & Wellbeing had made claims in an advertisement in the local press, and on their website, that their “slimming and therapeutic massage chair and programme” had been clinically proven by the NHS to induce weight loss, relieve stress, and lower blood pressure.  It even went on to say that the chair could provide a solution to obesity.

The ASA established that there had in fact been no formal NHS clinical research.  A casual study had taken place at a mental health hospital among staff participating in a free trial.  The hospital in question did not treat obesity.  Therefore this aspect of the advertising claims being made by Miruji Health & Wellbeing was a misleading endorsement, and as such held to breach two of the CAP Codes.

With regards the claims that the chair could treat high blood pressure, the ASA considered that high blood pressure is “a medical condition for which advice, guidance and treatment should only be conducted under the supervision of a suitably qualified health professional”.  The advertisements therefore also breached one of the CAP Codes (- in this case, the “Medicines, medical devices, health-related products and beauty products” rule).

On the subject of obesity treatment, and the claims that customers could lose weight using the chair and programme alone – the advertisements were held to have breached the CAP Code relating to “weight control and slimming”.

If you have any concerns about the legality of your own advertisements or the claims you make in your promotional material, please contact Jo Tall via jo@offtoseemylawyer.com and she will provide you with appropriate advice relating to the CAP Codes, and any other legal issues that require consideration.