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85% of advertising complaints due to poor marketing compliance

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6th Jun 2016
Managing editor MyCustomer.com
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New research from Teradata Marketing Applications has revealed that the vast majority of public complaints that are upheld by the UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) are a result of poor compliance.

The study of over 1,400 complaints make to the advertising body between January 2013 and December 2015 found that non-compliance was widespread, for example making misleading or false claims about products and services.

The findings suggest that non-compliance is a major issue in UK marketing communications, with the study finding that a massive 93.4% of all complaints were upheld due to compliance issues of some kind, with the remainder being triggered by negative responses to the creative elements of campaigns.

Some 7.6% of all upheld complaints were found to have breached both compliance and creative guidelines, while an alarming 85.7% of campaigns had ASA complaints upheld for compliance issues alone.

At an industry level, the beauty sector was the main culprit. The study found that health & beauty campaigns were the source of 252 upheld complaints over three years, or17.6% of all upheld ASA rulings, ahead of sectors including leisure (17%), business (14.2%) and retail (13.2%).

Interestingly, while the financial services sector has generated significant ASA attention in recent years, significantly fewer financial campaigns had complaints upheld by the ASA than sectors such as health & beauty.

Brands’ own websites were the source of nearly half (41%) of all upheld ASA rulings, almost four times as many infractions as TV ads (11% of all upheld rulings) or direct mail campaigns, leaflets and circulars (7%).

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