ASA update: from holiday pricing to surfing in the Arctic

And summer's lease hath all too short a date

Indeed, Mr Shakespeare.

If yesterday's incessant bank holiday drizzle is anything to go by, it is clear that the weather gods have served an unexpected break clause on the summer. That's it. Chuck away the sun cream and unpack your bags folks, autumn is here.

The term 'British Summer Time' now just seems sarcastic.

So what do we do during the first flush of autumn?

Catch up on what we may have missed over the summer. Well we do anyway.

So today, Comet has a quick look at what the ASA has been up to during the past couple of months.

Travel and holidays

If you are a travel company—whether a global conglomerate or a B&B offering rooms over the Net—be aware: it has been reported that the ASA is taking a greater interest in travel companies 'as part of a fresh look at holiday pricing'.

The ASA is working with ABTA and a number of travel businesses on holiday price claims although their work is currently only at an early stage. Expect to see changes to the CAP code in the medium to long-term.

In the meantime, here's a reminder from 2012 on the principles that the ASA expects advertisers in the sector to follow:

all prices should include all taxes or charges that must be paid. Any extras such as insurance, booking fees or surcharges should be clearly stated

any limitations on the offer must be clear. If, for example, a price is dependent on two people travelling together and sharing a room, then this should be specified. The date of travel must also be clear

itineraries must be accurate both in terms of places visited and the amount of time spent there
all amenities that are advertised (such as golf courses, shops, child care) should be available—if they cannot be used during the off-peak season this should be made clear in the ad

if illustrations and photographs are used, they must be up-to-date and accurate

the brochure should also make every effort not to omit any significant drawbacks about the location of accommodation, for example nearby building works, busy roads or airports.

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/502449172361273344

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/494773637472202752

Businesses should also bear in mind that the Pricing Practices Guide is also under review.

The Trading Standards Institute states that it intends to consult with government (including the devolved administrations) and then consult publicly on the proposals to amend it. This will probably be in the late autumn this year.

Alcohol advertising—daring behaviour

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/502488519131291648

This is always a tricky area.

CAP has recently issued updated guidance on advertising alcohol:

Marketers should not link an alcohol product or drinking alcohol with brave, tough or, daring people or behaviour. References to prowess, aggression or anti-social or unruly behaviour are prohibited by rule 18.4. Suggestions that an alcohol product or drinking alcohol is a sign of maturity or masculinity are also prohibited by the Code.

Of particular note is Jägermeister's first UK advert which the ASA banned.

In the ad a group of friends were seen driving through the bitter wilds of Iceland. After freeing their car from an unexpected snow drift they go on to hit the surf in the Arctic conditions of the North Atlantic Ocean.

As you do.

Even though the group only started drinking after they'd got out of the water and dried themselves off, CAP found that the ad breached the CAP Code because it featured alcohol and potentially dangerous activities (eg surfing in Iceland) which required 'bravery and daring'.

So after 14 months of scouting different countries, 12 days of filming and surfing among chunks of ice in air temperatures of minus 15, the ad was canned.

Perhaps next time they should try mini-golf in Cornwall?

Other developments (promotional pricing, property ads, dentistry, organic food and copycat adverts)

Here's a round-up of other tweets/ developments of note:

Guidance article on how to ensure that customers 'have faith that a promotional price represents a genuinely good deal':

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/494773637472202752

Guidance on property ads:

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/502834391580540929

ASA working with the General Dental Council to the improve complaint referral process:

https://twitter.com/ASA_UK/status/502450412126216193

Updated guidance on organic foods:

https://twitter.com/CAP_UK/status/501666013981999104

Finally the ASA has also been working on ensuring that consumers are not confused by copycat websites that appear to be official government websites:

https://twitter.com/ASA_UK/status/486428560119185408

 

So what do you think about these recent developments?

Has the ASA got it right or has it gone too far (see our Comet post: Businesses: what do you mean you’re not perfect?)?

Let us know below. We always welcome your comments. In the meantime, if you've got this far and still feel that you don't really know anything about the ASA and what it does, here's a jazzy little video from the regulator to help:

https://twitter.com/ASA_UK/status/473754082402770944

Area of Interest