ASA discusses record year
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has revealed that it was sent a record number of complaints in 2011 - the year it started reviewing online copywriting claims.
According to a report from the UK advertising regulator, 31,458 complaints were received last year. These complaints were directed towards 22,397 different ads. To put this data into perspective, it represents a 71 per cent increase in cases compared to 2010.
Much of this growth has been attributed to the extension of the ASA's remit into advertising claims made on company websites and social media accounts from March 2011. In total, there were 7,195 complaints about online advertising last year, covering 6,631 ads. Previously, the organisation had just focused on print, TV and radio ads.
KFC Zinger ad
Meanwhile, to celebrate 50 years as the ad industry regulator, the ASA has disclosed which ad generated the most complaints in its history. The most complained about ad was apparently a KFC Zinger advert from 2005 that showed call centre workers singing with their mouths full. Despite producing 1,671 complaints - many from parents worried that it would lead to bad manners in children - the ASA decided not to ban the ad since it was 'unlikely to change children's behaviour or undermine parental authority'.
Ed Vaizey, minister for culture, communications and creative industries, commented: "The advertising industry in the UK is world renowned for its creativity and innovation, but also for abiding by the rules that are designed to protect consumers. As an effective and well respected regulator, the ASA plays a crucial role in enabling responsible advertising to flourish."
Daniel Nolan, managing director at theEword, added: "It's interesting to see how many online cases have been investigated by the ASA. If anything, this underlines the need for advertisers to ensure that their copywriting claims can be fully substantiated, regardless of whether they are posted online or offline."