News Group Newspapers has been carpeted by advertising watchdogs
over a chaotic cut-price flights promotion and misleading reader
The Advertising Standards Authority has backed complaints about the
offer of a free gold bracelet to News of the World readers and offers in
the Sun involving Spice Girls merchandise and cheap air tickets for
flights to Ireland and Scotland.
The ASA was told that readers missing the cards needed to make phone
bookings for the flights had difficulty getting replacements and that
those trying to make bookings were told seats were no longer
The Sun was also said to have published a table claiming that flights to
Cork were still available the day after they had sold out.
The paper has been warned to take greater care after it claimed on its
front page that a Spice Girls promotion was to start that day, when a
statement inside declared it would start the following day.
The News of the World was reprimanded for offering a ’free gold bracelet
for every reader’ on its front page when it was restricted to one
bracelet per household.
The ASA has also criticised the soft drinks manufacturer, J. N. Nichols,
for an ad that attracted charges of racism for its portrayal of a black
man wearing gold chains with a gun hanging from them.
But it has cleared United Distillers, makers of Gordon’s gin, from
causing distress to recovering alcoholics with a Leo Burnett ad that
showed a gin and tonic while the smell of juniper berries was released
through the cinema’s air conditioning.
At the same time, the ASA has taken the unusual step of banning a poster
criticised for encouraging irresponsible use of over-the-counter drugs
even though it had been pre-vetted and approved by the Proprietary
Association of Great Britain.
The authority censured Roche Consumer Health for the poster for Pro-Plus
which featured a picture of three girls out enjoying themselves and