Scope and Application
The primary objective of the Code is the regulation of commercial marketing communications in the interest of consumers.
For the purposes of the Code:
(a) a word importing the singular shall be read as also importing the plural, and a word importing the plural shall be read as also importing the singular
(b) "person" should be construed as including legal persons and groups, as appropriate;
(c) every word importing the masculine gender should be construed as if it also imported the feminine
gender unless the contrary intention appears. Every word importing the feminine gender should be construed as if it also imported the masculine gender unless the contrary intention appears.
The following definitions apply to the Code and to the procedures for its implementation:
(a) the Authority means the Advertising StandardsAuthority for Ireland;
(b) a marketing communication includes but is not limited to advertising, as well as other techniques such as promotions, sponsorships and direct marketing, and should be interpreted broadly to mean any form of communication produced directly by or on behalf of advertisers intended primarily to promote products, to influence the behaviour of and/or to inform those to whom it is addressed;
(c) advertising or advertisement includes but is not limited to a form of marketing communication carried by the media, usually in return for payment or other valuable consideration;
(d) an advertiser includes anyone disseminating marketing communications, including promoters and direct marketers; references to advertisers should be interpreted as including intermediaries and agencies unless the context indicates otherwise;
(e) a product can encompass goods, services, facilities, opportunities, fundraising, prizes and gifts;
(f) a consumer is anyone who is likely to see or hear a particular marketing communication;
(g) a child is anyone under 18 years of age;
(h) a claim can be direct or implied, written, verbal or visual;
(i) promotional marketing practices, including sales promotions, are those marketing techniques which involve the provision of direct or indirect additional benefits, usually on a temporary basis, designed to make goods or services more attractive to purchasers;
(j) a promoter is any person or body by whom a sales promotion is initiated or commissioned;
(k) an intermediary is any person or body, other than the promoter, responsible for the implementation of any form of sales promotional activity;
(l) Viral advertising is an-email, text or other nonbroadcast marketing communication designed to stimulate significant circulation by recipients to generate commercial or reputational benefit to the advertiser. (Viral advertisements are usually put into circulation (“seeded”) by the advertiser with a request, either explicit or implicit, for the message to be forwarded to others. Sometimes they include a video clip or a link to website material or are part of a sales promotion campaign);
(m) Investor relations material is information about an organisation (including its goods or services) addressed to the financial community, including shareholders and investors, as well as others who might be interested in the company’s stock or financial stability.
The Code applies to:
(a) marketing communications in newspapers, magazines and other printed publications, including “free sheets”;
(b) marketing communications in posters and other promotional media in public places, including moving images;
(c) marketing communications in brochures, leaflets, circulars, mailings, fax transmissions, e-mails and text transmissions;
(d) marketing communications broadcast on television or radio or screened in cinemas;
(e) marketing communications carried on electronic storage materials and all other electronic media and computer systems; including but not limited to: online advertisements in paid-for space (including banner or pop-up advertisements and online video advertisements); paid-for search listings; preferential listings on price comparison sites; viral advertisements; in-game advertisements; commercial classified advertisements; advergames that feature in display advertisements; advertisements transmitted by Bluetooth; advertisements distributed through web widgets and online sales promotions and prize promotions;
(f) promotional marketing and sales promotions;
(g) advertisement features;
(i) 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 Code does not apply to:
(a) statutory, public, Garda and other official notices;
(b) material published as a matter of record only;
(d) packages, wrappers, labels, tickets, timetables and menus, unless they advertise another product or a sales promotion or are recognisable in a marketing communication;
(e) point-of-sale displays, except those covered by the promotional marketing rules or when part of a wider advertising campaign;
(f) marketing communications whose principal purpose is to express the advertiser's position on a political, religious, industrial relations, social or aesthetic matter or on an issue of public interest or concern;
(g) classified private advertisements, including those on-line;
(h) press releases and other public relations material;
(i) the content of books and editorial material in media;
(j) oral communications, including telephone calls;
(k) works of art;
(l) specialised marketing communications addressed to the medical, veterinary and allied professions;
(m) the content of premium rate services;
(n) marketing communications in foreign media (complaints are normally dealt with by the self-regulatory authority in the country of origin of the media);
(o) sponsorship (marketing communications that refer to a sponsorship are covered by the Code);
(p) investor relations and corporate material;
(q) website content not covered by 1.4(e) and 1.4(i), including (but not limited to) editorial content, news or public relations material, corporate reports and natural listings on a search engine or a price comparison site;
(r) heritage advertising, where that advertising is not part of the advertisers’ current promotional strategy and is published in an appropriate context. In the event that an advertisement or marketing communication is subject of a recent Complaints Committee adjudication, then Section 2.4 of the Code may be invoked to bring such heritage advertising or marketing communications within remit;
The Code is applied in accordance with the following criteria:
(a) An invitation from the Authority to comment on a complaint does not mean that the Authority accepts the complainant's view. Each case is considered on its merits.
(b) The Code rules are indivisible; advertisers should comply, where appropriate, with all rules.
(c) Compliance with the Code is assessed in the light of a marketing communication's probable effect when taken as a whole and in context. Particular attention is paid to:
- the characteristics of the likely audience,
- the media by means of which the marketing communication is communicated,
- the location and context of the marketing communication,
- the nature of the advertised product and the nature, content and form of any associated material made available or action recommended to consumers.
(d) The Code is primarily concerned with the content of advertisements, promotions and direct marketing communications and not with terms of business or products themselves. Some rules, however, go beyond the content, for example, those that cover the administration of sales promotions, the suitability of promotional items and the delivery of products ordered through an advertisement.
(e) The Code does not deal with contractual relationships between advertisers and consumers. It does not presume to judge whether a product represents value for money nor does it seek to regulate terms of business.
(f) The Authority does not act as an arbitrator between conflicting ideologies.
(g) No legal advice can be given or should be presumed in communications from the Authority (Board, Complaints Committee or Secretariat).
(h) The judgement of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland on any matter of interpretation of the Code is final.
Procedures for the implementing of the Code and information on the Authority and its structures are set out in Chapter 2.