ASAI reminds advertisers about Covid-19 claims

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) is reminding advertisers that any claims being made for products and services referring to Covid-19 should be adequately substantiated. The ASAI is issuing the reminder due to the fact that it has received complaints about a number of ads relating to Covid-19 on the grounds that they are misleading.

While the number of complaints is not significant, the ASAI considers that it is necessary to remind all advertisers of the need to advertise responsibly and to avoid claims that undermine public health advice or exploit people’s anxieties. Advertisers are required to adhere to the ASAI code, which applies to all commercial marketing communications.


As stated in the code, a marketing communication should not mislead, or be likely to mislead, by inaccuracy, ambiguity, exaggeration, omission or otherwise. The advertiser must substantiate all claims, expressed or implied. In the context of substantiation, the importance of protecting the consumer from false or misleading ads is reflected in section 4.9.

Orla Twomey (pictured), CEO, ASAI, also points out that claims made about health and beauty products and treatments should be backed by substantiation. Where relevant, this should include the results of robust and reputable trials on human subjects, of sufficient rigour, design and execution as to warrant general acceptance of the results.

Non-adherence may ultimately result in the ASAI upholding a breach under the code which may be published in the media. The authority, which is financed by the advertising industry, offers free confidential and non-binding copy advice on the compliance of proposed advertising. The aim is to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful.



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