Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The ASA's digital hall of shame gets its first entrants

The ASA and CAP have been governing a wider range of digital marketing activites this year and yet their list of "non-complying digital advertisers" has been blank.

Yes, there have been investigations into digital marketing activities - I think the very first was a website that claimed a unicorn badge could repel head lice.

There was a change yesterday. The ASA added four companies into the hall of shame/list of rebels. The four rebels are:
  • Vistaprint - for excluding VAT from their headline prices. Vistaprint does not need to include VAT if most of their customers avoid or recover VAT, however, the ASA is still waiting for Vistaprint to demonstrate this is the case.
  • Samantha Pearce - for claiming that Reiki can heal a wide range of health issues. I suspect this may be controversial.
  • Life Healthcare - for a website that sells a cream that is supposed to tackle a range of pain issues. The ASA is worried that the statements may be viewed as 'medical claims for unauthorised products'.
  • Allan Sweeney International Reiki Healing & Training Centre - once again, for suggestions that Reiki and other alternative treatments can be used to treat a wide range of medical issues.

There's clearly a trend there; three medical issues and two of which are reiki related.

I suspect this will become fairly big news in the alternative and complimentary health care circles (and I appreciate they're different things).

The rest of us will have to sit and wait to see whether being published on the list of non-complying digital advertisers encourages any of the four to change position.

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