Magazine article Marketing


Magazine article Marketing


Article excerpt

Ruling illustrates limits of ASA

James Rothnie, director of corporate affairs, easyGroup, London NW1

In his attempted defence of the ASA's decision to uphold the AOL complaint against easy InternetCafe, Christopher Graham, the ASA director-general, makes two points that should not be left unanswered.

The first is that "as well as upholding complaints against easyEverything Ltd this week, the ASA also found against AOL on a complaint brought by Freeserve". This is an admission of the limits of the ASA's abilities. At best it can act as a self appointed judge in a 'pissing contest' between two similar ISPs where they are comparing virtually identical companies.

Beyond the ASA's capabilities, however, is judging a non-media company, like an internet cafe, against AOL where the offer of the former undermines the price of the latter's core product. It is at this point that the ASA does not wish to rock the boat, as all systems are ultimately self-preserving.

The clearest illustration of this point comes from the ASA itself, which wrote to easy InternetCafe saying "you should compare yourselves to Cyberia, and AOL should be compared to Freeserve". This prejudice illustrates that the ASA is unable to recognise competition which finally is capable of reducing prices in a given market place.

Christopher Graham goes on to make a feeble offer: "Instead of inviting the government in to regulate non-broadcasting media, we suggest that easyEverything simply checks its advertising in advance with the Committee of Advertising Practice's free Copy Advice service," he said.

This totally fails to address the point that if the ASA is considered unsuitable for understanding offers made in advertisements it would be wholly unwise to use its copy advice service as such advice would be likely to be equally unsuitable.

Surfers using search engines are perfect targets for marketers

Jim Brigden, sales director, Overture, London SW1

Laura Mazur's column on search engines was like a breath of fresh air. For too long now, marketers have ignored searches as one of the most important online marketing tools.

People searching the web are already actively looking for specific products or services.

As a result, lead-to-sale conversions from leads generated by this method are much higher than from other online mechanics. …

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