Friday, 27 April 2012

Controversy over ads recommending Gay cure

See here for full details on the story. This is particularly interesting, as the ads were not banned by the ASA, but Transport for London chose not to run them at the last minute as they were not consistent with TfL's policy of tolerance and inclusion. But what about free speech?

Friday, 23 March 2012

Minimum Price for Alcohol

On Tuesday in the Marketing and Society lecture, I talked about the possibility of a minimum price for Alcohol being imposed in order to deter excessive consumption. I stated that although plans were quite advanced in Scotland, there seemed to be no strong appetite for similar in England. I was wrong ! The Government today announced plans for a minimum price of 40p per unit and they also published a new alcohol consumption strategy.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Trip Advisor...Can you trust the reviews !

TripAdvisor has been rebuked by the ASA for misleading consumers in its ads. Its claim that reviews were truthful was deemed open to question, as some reviews may be written by those with a vested interest in having a good review. Having used TripAdvisor frequently, I reckon this must happen quite a lot !

Monday, 24 October 2011

Energy prices and customer intertia

A recent BBC article speculated why customers don't bother to switch to the lowest priced provider and included some of my thoughts on the matter

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Brands, Families, Consumption and Society

Parents feel under enormous pressure to provide children with high status brands to avoid them being picked upon and bullied. Valuing such possessions was a particular feature of UK family life. Could it be that craving such material possessions is a syptom of the search for self esteem that is absent due to a lack of quality time spent with parents. And do we as parents make sure that we set a good example ? Another report shows that UK children are amongst the unhappiest in the developed world and what they really want is time with parents rather than more stuff. Easier said that delivered when many parents are working long hours to make ends meet or to cover large mortgage payments etc !

Tesco in trouble for telling porkies

Tesco have had a TV advert banned because the images contained within were deemed misleading. This provides a good example of the substantiation doctrine and illustrates that it applies to images as well as text.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Beach Volleyball Anyone?

The decision by two female Beach Volleyball players to advertise a bookmaker on their bikini bottoms has been criticised as detailed here. Is this really any different to David Beckham in his underwear which was also controversial and, if not, is it really a gender issue at all?

Simple Products Consultation

The Goverment is running a consultation on how encourage financial services firms to offer simple products and how to make sure that consumers are aware of them. Full details can be found here, including a report that I was commissioned to write by the Treasury.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Super Complaint on Credit and Debit Card charges

Many customers are annnoyed to find that excessive (in their view !) fees are charged for payments using a debit/credit card online. A super complaint has now been filed which will be investigated by the OFT. No suprise to see Ryanair at the forefront of defending the practise !

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Coca Cola Vitamin Water Ad Banned

An Adevrt for Coca Cola Vitamin Water has beed banned for mis-leading consumers.The ASA judged that the publ;ic would not expect a drank labelled as nutritious to contain five spoonfulls of sugar and, as a result, the ad was sufficiently misleading to require action. Only three customers complained and Coca Cola mounted a robust defence, but to no avail.

Minimum Price for Alcohol Proposed

Scotland proposed a minimum price for alcohol, but it never came to fruition. Now there are proposals for England and Wales. With health campaigners complaining that the proposed price is too low and the drinks industry hailing it as a pragmatic solution, it is quite clear that the business lobby has done its job effectively.

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Power of Branding

WARNING: THIS IS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE! But it is a excellent parody of the power of branding. Watch the cartoon here

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Mockery of Religion

An ice cream poster ad has been banned by the ASA for mocking the catholic faith. Given that the Pope turns up in the UK tomorrow, this probably isn't surprising, but it is interesting that the company concerned is taking quite an adversarial approach

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Police Anit-Terror Ad is Banned

An advert encouraging members of the public to look out for and report suspiscious behaviour which could be indicative of terrorist activity has been banned by the ASA.  Full details of the adjudication from the ASA show that the ad was banned as it may offend those who like to keep their cutains closed !

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

More news from the ASA

An advert which features a cat being mistaken for a football and kicked into a tree by blind footballers has not been banned by the ASA despite attracting more than 1000 complaints. The ASA judged that, notwithstanding the number of complaints, the ad was unlikely to cause serious offence as it was obviously an unreal, humorous situation. It is interesting that an ad can attract so many complaints but still not be banned. Meanwhile, a Burger King ad has been banned as it showed a burger of exaggerated size !

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Ryanair in trouble with the ASA again

Ryanair have again been in trouble with the ASA, this time over an advert depicting the boss of rival Easyjet as pinocchio! Perhaps the biggest surprise in all of this is that Michael O'Leary actually appologised in this case, a rare occurance indeed.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Diesel Ads Banned

The clothing brand Diesel is no stranger to controversy, having parodied the 80s porn industry for a previous Internet marketing campaign. it is now in trouble again, with the ASA judging that two posters are likely to cause serious and widespread offence due to their overtly sexual nature and the fact that posters are difficult to target and can be seem by children:

Friday, 18 June 2010

FSA Abolished

It was announced earlier this week that the Financial Services Authority is to be abolished and that it will disappear by 2012. I would suggest that this came as somewhat of a surprise, as George Osbourne had pledged to spend time listening before deciding and it was clear that the Lib-Dems were less keen on closing down the FSA. From a consumer protection perspective, in its place will be a Consumer Protection and Markets Authority, which will be responsible for policing the actions of financial services companies. The precise remit and objectives of the new authority will no doubt become clearer over time.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Example of Ambush Marketing

This story from the world cup provides an interesting example of an ambush marketing stunt. The beer company in question was not the "official" drinks sponsor/partner of the world cup and therefore had to do something unconventional and controversial to get some coverage. This is the essence of ambush marketing. It has obviously paid off for the company concerned, as a relatively small outlay as resulted in a huge amount of press coverage involving lots of pictures of scantily clad good looking women.  It is obviously generally assumed that beer drinkers are predominantly male and would appreciate such images. The more profound question is on what grounds FIFA have the right to exclude the women from the stadium, as they were wearing no logos which directly associated them with any company. 

Monday, 14 June 2010

Bundled Current Accounts Don't Offer Value For Money

This report suggests that most packaged or bundled current accounts do not offer customers value for money and that their main purpose is to provide banks with a mechanism for ensuring that as many customers as possible pay a fee for their banking. Obviously such accounts for provide other benefits and will be suitable for some, but most will not get value for money. There may well be a framing issue at play here too. The fees for such accounts are almost always quoted in monthly terms and it may well be that £15 per month is inherently more palatable that £180 per year. Perhaps an AEC (Annual Equivalent Charge) should be provided, similar to an AER for interest rates. 

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Defending the Nanny State

I think it is far to say that when we read the term Nanny State in the media, it is normally used in the pejorative, however some more positive coverage has also occured. The article from the Indepedent newspaper characterises the smoking ban as a success and suggests future targets. 

Friday, 4 June 2010

Is there a future for the FSA?

The Conservatives pledged to abolish the FSA if elected, however, the coalition has been very quiet on this matter since it came to power. This article provides the latest thinking and implies that there are tensions between the Conservatives and Lib-Dems over what to do with the FSA

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Minimum Price For Alcohol?

Well there is a thought to send a shiver down the spin of many, but this is a measure that is receiving heavyweight backing as the most effective way to deal with the UK's collective drink problem. Predictably, the proposal has already been written off as state-led nannying in some quarters, but has received more balanced coverage elsewhere. I can't see the coalition government being up for doing something so politically unpopular at the moment, especially given all of the other politically unpopular decisions they about to unleash!

Welcome to my blog

In this blog, I will mainly be posting material related to marketing, consumer behaviour and consumer policy issues in financial services (bet you can't wait !) as these are my main research interests. I will also be posting material related to the modules that I teach, currently Marketing and Society, Quantitative Research Methods, MBA Marketing and other interesting stories relating to marketing in general.

My intention is to post a couple of blogs a month at least, so let's hope this isn't the first and last post I ever make !!