Youth Defence billboard posters not covered by advertising standards

Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 00:00

Youth Defence billboards opposing abortion attracted more than 140 complaints but action could not be taken on these complaints as the billboards were not of a commercial nature, Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland chief executive Frank Goodman said.

He said there were areas of advertising not covered by the authority’s code and these were primarily political or religious advertising and “advertisements with the principal purpose of expressing the advertiser’s position on issues of social or public interest, as is the case with the current Youth Defence campaign”, he said.

The authority received more complaints in 2012 than any other year, with some 2,000 noted over the last 12 months.

In previous years, the organisation received about 1,500 complaints on average.

The advertisement that prompted most complaints last year was Paddy Power’s “Ladies’ Day at Cheltenham”, which asked viewers to spot whether women in the video were born female or were transgendered.

“Separate the stallions from the mares,” the voiceover said.

The advertisement prompted more than 400 complaints and was upheld by the authority.

Paddy Power withdrew the video prior to the determination of the case, but it is still available on YouTube.

Provocative ad

Dublin’s Alchemy nightclub prompted the second-highest number of complaints for a provocative advertisement they uploaded to their Facebook page.

Although the advertisement prompted more than 250 complaints, it was not within the authority’s remit at the time.

In November, the authority extended its remit to include “marketing communications in non-paid-for space online, under the control of the advertiser or their agent, including but not limited to advertisers’ own websites”.

The authority’s full report will be issued later this year.

The Broadcasting Authority of Ireland said TV3’s Psychic Readings Live (right) show received 29 complaints, nearly one-quarter of all complaints received. Ten were upheld.

RTÉ’s Prime Time and television news both received nine complaints each but none of these complaints was upheld.

Full reports on complaints to the authority will be published later this year.