The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is introducing a new strategic focus to its remit that will see it increasing the resources it allocates to monitoring and regulating advertising and marketing communications, the formation of new strategic alliances and allowing the organisation’s independent board to make greater use of expert advice through different forums and panels while also “reaching out for wider industry engagement.”
The new strategic focus was unveiled this week as the ASAI published its annual report for 2022.
“Given the increasing complexities of the advertising, marketing and legislative eco-system, our new strategy has identified the importance of continuing and significantly increasing a focus on enhancing strong relationships with key stakeholders. The ASAI will work even more proactively to maintain its critical role as the regulator for advertising in Ireland, as we seek to develop a closer regulatory relationships and alliances with Government,” says Miriam Hughes, chair of the ASAI.
“We intend to ensure Ireland has a world-class capability in protecting the integrity of all marketing communications across all platforms and ensuring all such content is decent, honest and true. Building on its productive work with the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, the ASAI Executive are proactively engaging with the newly formed media commission, An Coimisiún na Meán, the statutory body with responsibility for online safety and media regulation. Allied to the organisational strategy, they will capitalise on the opportunity to provide and extend ASAI services to key stakeholders involved, including at Government Department and State Agency level as well as social media platforms headquartered in Ireland,” she says.
“Our recent sentiment survey demonstrated that trust in advertising has remained low for consumers in Ireland, which is similar to the situation globally. This is a concern for our board, for consumers and Government alike, as well as for the advertising industry. We have committed to renewed strategic focus, in fostering trust in advertising by deploying additional resources to proactively monitoring, regulating and enforcing high standards across all communications sectors,” Hughes adds.
According to the ASAI, it received 1,187 complaints about 897 advertisements during 2022. The top three complained about sectors were: Health & Beauty (193), Leisure (170) and Motoring (116). The majority of complaints were made on the grounds that the advertising was misleading (72%). For its part digital media was the most mentioned media (52%), according to the ASAI. In addition, 74 ads were submitted to the Complaints Committee with 59 of them found to in breach of the ASAI’s codes.
According to Orla Twomey, chief executive of the ASAI, one of the areas of concern for the organisation is the growth in influence marketing.
“Influencer marketing, which continues to grow exponentially, remains an area of significant concern for ASAI in terms of recognisability. While ASAI has had specific guidelines in place for influencer marketing, we look forward to co-creating new guidelines in partnership with the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to revise standards and enhance content safeguards for consumers,” says Twomey.