Alan Whicker and Trevor McDonald have been vindicated by the Advertising
Standards Authority after they protested about a Rank Xerox press ad
which ran their photographs without their prior permission or knowledge.
After a dispute lasting six months, the ASA has ruled that Rank Xerox
and its agency, Wunderman Cato Johnson, implied the two broadcasters
were endorsing its printing and copying products and asked for the
campaign to be withdrawn.
The ASA also ruled that the advertiser should have sought permission,
given the implied endorsement. The ruling indicates that copyright
legislation governing the use of celebrities’ photos in ads should be
In its defence, Rank Xerox argued that the ads did not imply endorsement
because they were ‘of a journalistic nature, and not staged’ by the
The use of McDonald’s photograph was particularly contentious because
under the terms of his contract with ITN he is not allowed to endorse
products. ITN and McDonald are currently in legal negotiations about the
Meanwhile, Whicker was not paid for this campaign, although Rank Xerox
did offer McDonald a nominal sum after he complained about the ad.
McDonald declined the offer.
Complaints not upheld in this month’s report included 70 against Playboy
Television’s launch campaign, by Saatchi and Saatchi. Its ‘morgasms’
poster was accused of being offensive, particularly in a medium seen by
children. The ASA ruled the ad to be neither likely to cause serious or
widespread offence, or be harmful to children.