Home > Legal Opinions tagged Advertising & Marketing

  • the ASA 'know what scares you’

    Alex Watt

    Clowns. It appears the UK has been seized by coulrophobia (fear of clowns) as the ASA has today dismissed over 70 complaints received about an advert for the film Poltergeist, featuring an image of a scruffy, smiling clown doll with the tagline “THEY KNOW WHAT SCARES YOU”. Complaints were received from parents and consumers with […]

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  • ASA backs charity over clarity in child sponsorship advert

    Laura Mackenzie-Mitchell

    The Advertising Standards Authority has confirmed that Plan International UK, a global children’s charity, had not misled the public as to where their sponsorship monies would be sent. Charities cannot, in their advertising, misrepresent their activities or the benefits of donated funds, and ads must not materially mislead. An individual challenged whether Plan’s TV ad […]

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  • trying to cover up women in advertising – learning from Protein World

    Jude King

    It’s apt that on the hottest day of the year so far the ASA has published a ruling that Protein World’s infamous ‘Beach Body Ready’ advert was not offensive or socially irresponsible. Despite receiving 378 complaints, the ASA’s decision is a sensible answer to wrongful cries of sexism every time images of woman with flesh […]

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  • sensory protection - can copyright subsist in taste?

    Nicola Hill

    Brand owners have long been interested in expanding the scope of intellectual property protection beyond the conventional – for example, obtaining trade marks for smells such as freshly cut grass for tennis balls and for tyres which smell of roses. Last week the Dutch Gelderland District Court was asked to go one step further and […]

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  • Advertising Standards Authority streamlines complaints process

    Jude King

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has announced that, in the majority of cases, it will now limit its investigations process to deal with only the three main points of complaint about an advert. This announcement follows the ASA’s recently published prioritisation principles, in which it pledges to use appropriate resources that are proportionate to the […]

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  • sexually explicit? an ASA ruling finds that it depends on your pos...

    Alex Watt

    The ASA has today dismissed two complaints relating to an advert for the Tom Ford perfume Black Orchid, on a poster in Brick Lane, London. The ad features Cara Delevingne lying naked on her side, semi-immersed in water, with the side of her breast and buttock exposed. Two complaints were lodged alleging the ad was […]

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  • Diageo promotes ‘craft’ over ‘consumption’ to survive ASA complaint

    Alex Watt

    The Guinness brand is known for its iconic advertisements, although regulations today preclude the use of famous slogans of yesteryear such as “Guinness is Good For You”. As with all alcohol brands, Guinness’s advertising is now careful to ensure that it promotes the brand, whilst not promoting the excessive consumption of alcohol. A recent social […]

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  • changes to The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2...

    Helena Wootton

    Following the recent fines imposed on those making nuisance calls, the The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 is now in force. The key amendment is the removal of the requirement for “substantial damage or substantial distress” to have resulted from a breach of the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations 2003 (PECR) […]

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  • Scramble v Scrabble - a surprising lack of confusion?

    Dave Holt

    The Court of Appeal case between Mattel and Zynga has confirmed that Mattel’s ‘Scramble’ CTM was valid and not descriptive of what was required in the game or in common usage for word games and therefore that Zynga’s use of ‘Scramble’ infringed it. LJ Floyd held that the similarity between the marks ‘Scramble’ and ‘Scrabble’ […]

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  • swearing in advertising

    Alex Watt

    **Contains strong language** The Committees of Advertising Practice have published a short report on swearing in ads. The report underlines the importance of an advert’s context, medium, audience and product, as understood within the standards set by the Code under section 4.1. One of their examples was a complaint raised regarding a Booking.com ad, which […]

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  • Innocent logo dispute provides much food for thought

    Peter Ellis

    Who owns the copyright in graphic work such as logos prepared by design agencies on behalf of their clients is not as straightforward as it might seem when the parties have not made their position clear at the outset of the relationship. Two companies faced prolonged and difficult litigation involving hearings at the European trade […]

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  • Superdrug warned: don’t advertise prescription-only medicines

    Alex Watt

    The ASA have this week published an upheld complaint against Superdrug Stores plc, reminding them that their future advertising should not directly or indirectly promote prescription-only medicines (‘POM’). In this instance, the wording of the ad (‘Up To 76% Cheaper Than Competitors’) focussed on the purchase of a POM rather than a wider focus on […]

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  • Topshop loses appeal against Rihanna in passing-off case

    Emma Fox

    Topshop has lost an appeal against a ruling of passing-off in relation to its sale of t-shirts bearing Rihanna’s image. There was no evidence from purchasers that they had believed the t-shirts were endorsed by Rihanna. However, as reported in our earlier article on this case relating to the appealed High Court judgment as the […]

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  • ASA meeting ODPS co-regulation Designation requirements

    John Swani

    The ASA, together with Ofcom, co-regulates on-demand programme services (ODPS) subject to the ASA meeting Designation requirements defined under s.368A(1) Communications Act 2003. In a report published this week, Ofcom confirmed the ASA is meeting the Designation requirements, a view supported by report contributors Channel 4, UTV and Clearcast. The Designation has been amended, removing […]

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  • trade mark puzzle solved - Rubik’s Cube 3D CTM found valid

    Bonita Trimmer

    The community trade mark (CTM) for the shape of the famous Rubik’s cube puzzle has been found valid this week by the General Court. Simba Toys sought cancellation of Seven Town’s CTM on various grounds including that the mark consisted exclusively of the shape of goods “which is necessary to obtain a technical result” and […]

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  • OREO’s licked by ASA CAP Code

    Laura Mackenzie-Mitchell

    In our autumn BAM seminar, we focused on the increasing difficulties that advertisers are encountering when using new advertising platforms in light of the hurdles set out by the CAP Code. Today brings the publication of an ASA decision which reminds advertisers using editorial-styled online video ads of the importance of making the commercial nature […]

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  • app providers respond to ASA rulings on freemium apps

    Paula Dumbill

    Over the last 24 hours the App Store has responded to ASA rulings on misleading ads by making apps that were previously offered as ‘free to play’ now accessible via a ‘get’ option. Also, the words ‘offers in-app purchases’ are clearly positioned at the ad offer stage. In July this year the ASA ruled that […]

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  • ‘Golden Balls’ CTM saga: differing degrees of similarity

    Laura Mackenzie-Mitchell

    Last year we reported on the General Court’s decision that, on a global consideration of the trade marks ‘Golden Balls’ and ‘Ballon D’or’, their visual and phonetic differences (despite their minimal conceptual similarities) meant they were not ‘similar’ under Art 8(1)(b) CTM Regulation 2007/2009 (requiring identical/similar marks for identical/similar goods and a likelihood of confusion) […]

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  • BSkyB offer was not the “best ever” – and is pulled

    Alex Watt

    The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has today announced that it has upheld a complaint against a BSkyB press advertisement, which claimed that the broadband bundles Sky was offering were the “best ever”. The advertisement in question included text at the top right-hand corner, which stated explicitly “Our BEST EVER broadband offer”. However, when a complainant […]

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  • Marks & Spencer’s hopes bloom anew

    Nicola Hill

    The internet keywords case Interflora v M&S has come full circle with the Court of Appeal (CA) referring it back to the High Court for a re-trial. This saga began in 2008, when M&S purchased ad-words which resulted in its floristry ads being displayed when a user searched for ‘interflora’ on Google. Interflora alleged trade […]

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