The Advertising Standards Authority today said that the paper had been routinely publishing articles favourable to particular products above related ads.
It said that there was no indication that the articles, which appeared under the title "Express Lifestyle", were advertorial, and readers would have understood the entire page to have been an editorial feature.
The ASA said: "We told the Daily Express and Goldshield to ensure that their advertorials were identified as advertisement features in future."
Its ruling said:
- the articles were "always and uniquely" favourable to the product featured in the accompanying ad;
- contained claims that have been or would be likely to be prohibited in advertisements;
- the same or substantially similar articles had appeared on different dates.
In its defence, the Daily Express said the journalist had not been paid by the advertiser, and the advertiser had no right to change the content of the text.
But the ASA told the Daily Express to ensure that its advertorials were identified as advertisement features in future.