Comply with advertising standards

Four advertising pitfalls to avoid

Guide

Following rules of clear advertising ensures that customers can make informed decisions about the exact product or service you are offering. This will help to eliminate potential complaints and a breakdown in customer service. 

Misleading advertising prompts the highest number of complaints made to the Advertising Standards Authority. Advertisements with misleading claims generated over 70 per cent of the cases they dealt with in 2017.  

Rules to prevent misleading advertising apply to all types of ads - including TV, radio, outdoor, email and online. Avoid these common mistakes to ensure you give your customers clear and unambiguous information. 

1.    Unclear pricing: Make sure your pricing information includes all charges, such as VAT and booking fees. Consider the rules on delivery charge information if you sell online. 

2.    Omitting key information: It is important to state key terms and conditions to any offers. You shouldn't try to hide conditions in the 'small print', instead they should be clearly seen near your main claim.  

3.    Exaggeration: You should ensure that any claims about your product or service are truthful. Consider whether a consumer would be able to tell the difference between a subjective claim and one that can be backed up with evidence. A claim such as 'for that buttery flavour' would be seen as a marketer's subjective opinion. A claim such as 'the UK's most buttery tasting spread' suggests that there is some objective evidence to back this up, such as an independent taste survey.  

4.    Excluding evidence: If you do chose to include an objective claim in your advertising - make sure you can back it up. Evidence can include independent studies and surveys. For some types of products you may need a clinical trial to back up any health, beauty or slimming claims