Christmas time is drawing near, and consumers are reliant… On ads that are responsible, and Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) compliant… And so our elves have conjured up a brief yet timely read… On how to ensure your festive ads are unlikely to mislead.

Alcohol ads that encouraged excessive drinking and delivery claims that didn’t stand up to scrutiny received a frosty reception from both complainants and the ASA last Christmas. Here the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) offer some helpful tips on how to ensure this festive season remains, from an ad compliance perspective at least, the most wonderful time of the year.

  • Have yourself a merry little Christmas

But, remember that your advertising should be responsible – especially when it comes to alcohol. Earlier this year, the ASA ruled that Epic Pub Company’s Christmas-time “barrow of booze” promotion was irresponsible because the ‘barrow’ constituted of up to 14 units of alcohol per person – well in excess of official recommended guidelines.

Similarly, the ASA upheld a complaint concerning a two-hour “bottomless prosecco” offer by Suede Bar & Nightclubs as it could encourage binge-drinking over a short period of time.

It’s not just pubs and clubs that should take a sober approach to alcohol promotions – a Facebook ad by B&M Stores broke the rules when it implied it was acceptable to drink an entire bottle of prosecco in one sitting.

  • All I want for Christmas is… accurate delivery information

Santa Claus may be able to deliver gifts to the most far-flung corners of the world but if you can’t, you’ll need to make that clear in your advertising. Earlier this year CAP published an Enforcement Notice on Advertised Delivery Restrictions and Surcharges, in response to a significant number of complaints about misleading “UK Delivery” offers that excluded large swathes of the country.

To keep off the regulatory naughty list, we’d recommend avoiding unqualified statements such as “Free UK Delivery” where exclusions apply to areas such as Northern Ireland, or “Mainland GB Delivery” when the offer doesn’t apply to the Scottish Highlands.  For more detailed guidance on this, see here.

  • Rockin’ around your [delivery time] guarantees

We understand that packages occasionally get lost down the wrong chimney or topple from reindeer-driven sleighs, but you need to ensure that you’re able to substantiate your claims about your delivery timeframes, particularly during the Yuletide rush.

The ASA upheld 280 complaints about Amazon Prime’s “One-Day Delivery” service, as they considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim as meaning they’d receive their goods the day after making their order, rather than the day after Amazon dispatched it.

Making a list, checking it twice

For more Christmas themed advice, why not go ahead and treat yourself to our previous articles;

Source: CAP

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