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Make a complaint

First, check whether your complaint is covered by the ASA.  Find out what we cover, or if you're still not sure, call us to discuss your complaint.

If it is, submit your complaint online, or telephone, or write to us.

If you intend to raise multiple points of complaint, please focus your concerns and limit your complaint to what you feel are the three most important issues. If we decide to proceed with a formal investigation, we will investigate a maximum of three points in most cases, in line with the ASA’s commitment to focus its resources in the most impactful way. Find out more.

The names of those who make a complaint are kept confidential from the advertiser, unless you are asking us to have your name taken off a mailing list or the complaint is from an individual, competitor or organisation with obvious interest in the outcome of the complaint (such as consumer bodies and pressure groups).

We’ll give you the name of the person who will handle the case and be your point of contact. They will assess your complaint against the Advertising Codes and, if it is clear the Codes have not been breached, they’ll let you know. If it looks like there might be a problem, they will consider the issues against our prioritisation principles to decide what activity we should undertake, in response. Under these principles we will:

  • consider what harm or detriment has occurred or might occur;
  • balance the risk of taking action versus inaction;
  • consider the likely impact of our intervention; and
  • consider what resource would be proportionate to the problem to be tackled.

    We prefer to work by persuasion and consensus so, where appropriate, we will resolve complaints informally. For example, we might provide advice and guidance or seek agreement that an ad will be changed or withdrawn. Informally resolved cases are not put before the ASA Council and no ruling is published, so it means we can resolve problems far more quickly than by a full formal investigation. If we consider that a formal investigation is necessary, the case will be presented to the ASA Council to make a final ruling.

    This leaflet provides a straight forward guide to our process Making a complaint.

    You can also read our detailed complaints handling procedure for both broadcast and non-broadcast advertising.  

    Complaining about an overseas ad?

    Then your complaint will be treated as a cross-border complaint. Read more here.

  • Complaining about

    We have referred complaints about this advertisement to the ASA Council.  After careful consideration, the Council has decided that no further action should be taken.

    Please see below for more information on our decision.

    Complaints considered by ASA

    Complainants have told us that they found the ad, which features images of two women kissing, too sexually explicit. 

    Complainants also thought the ad was inappropriate for children and should not be scheduled around programmes that could be seen by them. 

    The advertising rules

    The Code states that “advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.”

    You might be interested to read this article which sets out the rules and explains when we’re able to intervene in matters relating to offence.

    Our decision

    Our Council did not think that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm to children for the following reasons:

    Council acknowledged that although some viewers might find the passionate manner in which the couple were kissing distasteful, it considered that it would not be seen as sexually explicit. 

    They also understood that a scheduling restriction had been applied to the ad, preventing it from being broadcast in or around children’s programmes or those of particular appeal to children.  This meant that it was unlikely that the ad would be seen by the very youngest viewers or young children watching TV alone. 

    Although you’re welcome to register your comments about this ad, we will not be responding to individual complaints at this time.   

    Make a complaint

    Dealing with complaints - FAQs

    We work hard to ensure our complaints procedures are transparent. Here we answer some commonly asked questions about how we handle complaints.

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