ASA rebuffs pop star over photograph row

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.

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

millennium.



The ad featured a large photograph of Williams and the caption: ’See

Robbie live.’



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

advertising.



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

activity.



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