Magazine article Marketing

Barclays Attacks ASA on Ad Ruling

Magazine article Marketing

Barclays Attacks ASA on Ad Ruling

Article excerpt

Barclays Bank has bitten back against the ASA which criticised its poster this week. Can the current code review quell advertisers' misgivings?

Barclays Banks has hit out at the Advertising Standards Authority for upholding complaints against a recent poster ad, claiming that the decision is "inconsistent" and that it "trivialises" the code of advertising practice.

The criticism comes hot on the tail of a major review of the code by which the ASA operates, that seeks to include views from non-advertisers such as pressure groups and political parties for the first time.

Barclays is one of a cluster of mainstream advertisers to have been criticised in the latest ASA monthly report. But it is the only one to dispute the decision.

"We don't want to be seen to be taking a swipe at the ASA," explains Barclays marketing director John Cheese. "But a decision like this undermines the impact of real complaints that are upheld."

The offending ad (see opposite) asking the question "Who invented plastic?" was criticised from two sources, which the ASA says are not competitors, on the grounds that plastic charge cards existed in the US before Barclay-card launched its Visa credit card in the UK in 1966

Barclays claims the ASA is being pedantic. "The ad was made for a domestic product targeting a domestic audience," says Cheese. "If you judge if in an international context then there are lots of advertisers that would have to reconsider their campaigns."

He quotes two examples: Nescafe ads claiming to be "the No 1", and Nationwide building society ads that claim the company has "more branches than anyone else". …

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