Like me, some of you will have received a somewhat curt response to a complaint about Smokefree South West's plain packaging poster campaign (the wording of my submission can be viewed here).
In what looks suspiciously like a "we asked them but they said they done nuffink wrong" kind of 'judgement', this was the ASA's reply.
Smokefree South West is an organisation, funded by all 14 Primary Care Trusts in that region, with the aim of reducing smoking rates. Advocacy for plain packaging was one of a range of Smokefree South West programmes and campaigns designed to reduce tobacco use. In this context the poster was advocacy of an opinion in an ongoing public-health debate. It was not implying that this opinion was universally accepted or that there were no contrary opinions, and was unlikely to be interpreted that way. The poster was unlikely to mislead consumers about Smokefree South West's advocacy of plain packaging for cigarettes. On this basis they concluded there was no breach of the CAP Code rules.Well, colour me surprised! A complaint about an ad entitled "move on, there's nothing to see" was met with a response offering just about the same sentiment.
Still, it doesn't necessarily end there.
I realise that will disappoint you and, although we won’t be taking any other action, we’ve told the advertiser about your concerns (without revealing your identity). In certain circumstances, complainants can request a review of the ASA Council’s adjudication, including a Council decision not to investigate a complaint after its deliberation. You have 21 days to ask the Independent Reviewer of ASA Adjudications, Sir Hayden Phillips, to review the case. But they must be able to establish that a substantial flaw of process or adjudication is apparent, or show that additional relevant evidence is available. You can click here for further information about the Independent Review process.So I thought I'd, indeed, take that opportunity.
It's a bit wordy, so I've dusted off the Scribd account. This is my appeal.
Over to you, Sir Hayden.