For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
(Complaints can be addressed to the Blog Council, your nearest newspaper, radio or TV station and when you leave this blog remember to pull the chain)
*Terms & Conditions Apply, if you can find them.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Advertising Standards Authority's batty decisions
Friend & King
Dear Mervyn King President of the Advertising Standards Authority,
As a former Judge I thought
you would be the best person to explain how your Authority (ASA) can come
to two different decisions on virtually identical facts.
BAT's billboard - sorry wrong pic
Last year complaints were made to the ASA that British American
Tobacco (BAT) was using a clever ploy to bypass the law that bans
tobacco advertising in South Africa. It
had billboards on major highways exhorting people not to buy illegal cigarettes. They carried the
fearsome warning that this may fundhijackers and
sidestepped the real issue and latched on to the bit abouthijackers and robbers. It ordered that the ads should be
pulled because BAT could not prove that this was true.
Fast forward to this year and it had a
complaint from Charles Maggs, myself and Tom Kallis.
A small point perhaps, but both these gentlemen were given the title of Mr while
I was just plain Jonwith both my first and surnames spelt
I suppose you can’t expect Watchdogs to be given a title can you?
Great minds evidently
think alike as we all felt that BAT was at it again (seeSmoke & Mirrors – cigaretteadverts by
another nameon my blog); this time by putting an advert, similar to the
billboard ones, in newspapers.
its best to spread alarm once more by telling readers that over R3-billion was lost in tax revenue (it forgot to mention the
billions lost through the devastation cause to people’s lives by smoking)
because people bought contraband cigarettes.
It then warned:But the price you could pay whensmuggled
cigarettes bring crime syndicates into your neighbourhood may be far, far
Was this message any different to the one
on the billboards? Could BAT substantiate this
No, of course it couldn’t.
Yet this time your
ASA didn’t bother about this aspect in dismissing our complaint completely.
It made matters worse by waffling on about having
taken into account its Code of Conduct which stipulates
that Advertising should not contain
anything which might lead orlend support to criminal activities, nor should
they appear to condone such activities.
then pathetically revealed that as it was not its job to decide on the legality
of adverts of this kind it was best to pass the buck to the Department of Health that administers the Tobacco Products Control Act.
Dying for a fag
Well, as we all know that Department has been very successful in running every
public hospital in South Africa into the
ground, so it’s hardly likely to be bothered about questionable cigarette ads.
BAT’s answer to the complaint was that is was
not promoting smoking. Heaven forbid that a tobacco company should do that.And the campaign did notadvertise its products. No, only its name British American Tobacco,
which in itselfadvertises tobacco.
What’s the point of such a week kneed ASA if it can’t even make a ruling in accordance with
its own Code of Conduct?
Surely at the very least theBAT newspaper ad mighthave
supported illegal activities(advertising
cigarettes) and it certainly appeared to
condone such activities otherwise the three of us would not have complained.
So didn’t the ad fall well within the ASA’s definition of whatAdvertising should not contain? Just asking,
Jon, Mr to the ASA,
the Consumer Watchdog who doesn’t win them all,
but that doesn’t stop him snapping at heels CONTINUOUSLY.
Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone' on Amazon Kindle It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of Afrikaner/ English prejudice.