Wednesday 28 March 2012

I Wish To Register Another Complaint

In for a penny, in for a pound.

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.


Jay said...

I hope the appeal succeeds.  :)   It's a good argument.  But good arguments do not always succeed when the prevailing view of all the government agencies is that smokers are inherently bad people, like paedos or something.

We didn't actually confirm that bet... did we?

nisakiman said...


I take my hat off to you DP. I thank you on behalf of myself and all interested parties for expending the time and effort to put together your very coherent submission. If more people contested, in the way you have, this juggernaut that is the anti-smoking lobby, we might even slow it down. It will be interesting to see the response to this.

For too long they (tobacco control) have disseminated their lies and calumny without anyone questioning the veracity of their "statements of fact". Time to call them to account.

Once again, well done.


If you're ever in my part of Greece, let me know - I owe you several beers! 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Err, bet? What bet? ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

"If more people contested, in the way you have"
The info is all there above, if anyone complained before, why not do so again? 

Jay said...

Dementia? So soon in life? 

That's OK.  I didn't want to take your money anyway.  I was really hoping I would lose the bet.

George Speller said...

God, you're thorough!
Well done. Watch this space.

Angry Exile said...

No shock result there, but good on you for persisting.

Thomas said...

You did a very thorough and well researched argument, backed up by substantial evidence to prove your points.

What happens though if it is reviewed and the arguments found relevant and applicable - will the ad have to be removed?

Lyn said...

Excellent Dick and I echo nisakiman's sentiments.

"The info is all there above, ...."

Would not several other similar or same requests for a review of the ASA Council’s adjudication not shoot us in the foot?

Whilst reading your brilliant piece, I was trying to work out how I could manage to put anything like that together, that would carry any weight and not look as though we are all coming from the same 'group', which may well reduce the level of success of the appeal.

Lyn said...

Sorry to sound negative, but by the time the review process has rumenated, long and hard, won't the posters already have run their time and been removed anyway?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

In that scenario, it would not be able to be used in its current form, yes.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

The consultation hasn't begun yet and when it does, it lasts 3 months, so a long time to go.

Thomas said...

Still, it is a thorn in their side. If they began receiving multiple thorns in their sides, enough thorns and eventually it would slow the beast down or cause it to have to reformulate new lines of attack. Even if the ads do still stay up for a while, the thorn's been stuck, the dagger pierced.

SteveW said...

Bastards never even replied to me.