The pop superstar Robbie Williams has been rebuffed by advertising
watchdogs over his claims that Mars used his picture without permission
in a campaign, endangering an endorsement deal he was negotiating.
But the singer succeeded in having the confectionery giant carpeted over
misleading claims that it could provide VIP tickets to seem him in
concert as competition prizes.
The row followed a competition in the News of the World inviting readers
to complete a sentence describing their dream start to the
The ad featured a large photograph of Williams and the caption: ’See
Solicitors that were representing Williams complained to the Advertising
Standards Authority that the picture was used without his authority and
that the ad implied he endorsed Mars’ products.
They also claimed that, at the time the ad appeared, Williams’s 2000
concert schedule had not been arranged and there were no decisions about
who would get VIP tickets.
Mars claimed that the use of the photograph, whose copyright was owned
by the News of the World, infringed no legal rights. It also insisted
that the ad had not implied the singer endorsed its products and was
unlikely to affect his negotiation of genuine endorsements.
But the ASA ruled that Mars was guilty of exaggeration after it admitted
that, although the closing date for competition entries had been 31
December 1999, it could not guarantee the availability of VIP concert
tickets after 17 September.
Meanwhile, a dotcom sportswear company whose poster showed a runner
vomiting into a rubbish bin has been cleared by the ASA of offensive
The ASA said that the ad, produced by BMP DDB for boo.com, realistically
showed the effect of strenuous exercise on people unused to physical