The Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI) received a total of 1,450 written complaints concerning 959 advertisements in 2021 according to its annual report which was published this week. According to the report, the number of complaints represents a 12% decrease on 2021.
The Travel / Holiday sector attracted the greatest number of complaints (207), followed by Leisure (151), and Household (145).
Digital media, meanwhile, gave rise to the highest number of complaints by media (696), representing 48% of all complaints, while complaints relating to broadcast media (TV and radio combined) totalled 603, and outdoor media attracted 67 complaints, an increase of almost 50% on 2020 (36). Of the 696 digital media complaints, 77 complaints related to influencer marketing advertisements, which were 5% of all complaints received.
The ASAI Annual Report outlines that 73% of the complaints made in 2021 were on the basis that an advertisement was misleading, while 9% were made on the basis that an advertisement was offensive. There were also a wide range of other issues covered by the ASAI Code that were raised by members of the public, including concerns about health & beauty, motoring, food and beverages, telecommunications and alcohol advertising.
According to Orla Twomey, CEO of the ASAI: “The ASAI is committed to promoting the highest standards of marketing communications in Ireland and our 2021 Annual Report is testament to this statement, conveying the sheer breadth of the ASAI’s activities across a range of areas including compliance, scheduled monitoring, copy advice, brand awareness, complaints investigation and adjudication, advisory corporate services and policy.”
“The engagement with the ASAI and compliance with the adjudication of the independent Complaints Committee, demonstrates that advertisers in Ireland are completely on board with the ASAI in our bid to protect consumers and ensure the highest standards of advertising and marketing communications,” she adds.
“2021 saw the ASAI continue to deeply engage in all our service offerings. In particular, there was a valuable increase with both our influence and strong contributions in the area of policy and Code, including recognising and supporting that the new media commission will oversee the new regulatory framework for online platforms based in Ireland and the introduction of new rules for advertising of High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) products that apply to non-broadcast media and include both restrictions on the amount of HFSS advertising and on the content itself. We also continued our engagement with influencer marketing through the #InfluencerMarketing webinar we hosted where we outlined the research previously carried out, showing the importance of authenticity and transparency. The requirement for ASAI contributions in these areas, all of national importance, are indicative of the place we hold as an acknowledged expert on setting standards for advertising,” concludes Twomey.