Top tips to avoid misleading advertising

Mar 1st '16

In advertising, there’s a big difference between pushing the truth and making false claims. Advertising is a vital way for companies to bring in new business, and here are some tips to help you avoid common mistakes:


  1. Don’t omit important information

Firms must not omit important information just because they intend to give it later or in subsequent material. All relevant information, including significant conditions to an offer, should be made clear in the advert itself. These should be stated close, or clearly linked, to the main claim.


  1. Is your pricing clear?

Pricing should relate to the product advertised, and includes all non-optional charges.


  1. Don’t exaggerate the capability or performance of a product

But don’t worry, obvious exaggerations that the average consumer is unlikely to take literally and that are unlikely to mislead are allowed.


  1. Are qualifications made clear?

Qualifying text (small print or bartnotes) can be used to clarify a claim in an ad, but don’t use it to hide important information or in a way that contradicts the headline claim.


  1. Ensure you have evidence to back up any claims made

You should hold adequate evidence to support all objective claims or those that are capable of objective substantiation, bearing in mind the impression consumers are likely to take from the advert.  The level of evidence that is required will depend on the type of claim being made and the product in question.


  1. Be careful of claims in product names

All content in your advertisement, including your company and/or product names can count as potential claims. If your product name implies an unproven effect or benefit, this could be problematic.


It’s worth remembering that these rules apply to all marketing sectors, but some sectors have their own specific rules, for example financial services.


We have significant experience in reviewing marketing material to ensure your promotions do not fall foul of the rules. To find out more visit our Copy Advice Service pages or send us an email.


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