The website www.cdn.bbn-news.co.uk, styled as a BBC news article, promoted RockyFroggy's services.
A complainant, who considered the website did not make sufficiently clear that the page was an advertorial or that the whole website was managed by an advertiser, challenged whether it was misleading.
RockyFroggy said they used third party affiliates, who were required to sign a contract agreeing to RockyFroggy's guidelines and conditions for advertising. They were unable to identify the particular affiliate concerned from the ad, but on receipt of the complaint contacted all their affiliates to advise them that the approach used in the current ad was not acceptable.
The ASA welcomed RockyFroggy's wish to identify the affiliate who had placed the ad and the action they had taken to advise all their affiliates that the approach used in the current ad was not acceptable. However, RockyFroggy had been unable to identify the affiliate responsible for placing the ad. We were concerned that their procedures had not been adequate to ensure that their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing material. Because the ad was not obviously identifiable as marketing material, we concluded that it was likely to mislead and was in breach of the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such.
Marketers and publishers must make clear that advertorials are marketing communications; for example, by heading them "advertisement feature".
(Recognition of marketing communications) and
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told RockyFroggy to ensure their ads were obviously identifiable as marketing material.