UK: ASA Adjudications Snapshot -January 2010

Last Updated: 1 March 2010
Article by Susan Barty and Susie Carr

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from January and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications.

This month, the ASA particularly considered implied health claims in relation to food and drink products, the requirement to prominently display any significant conditions of an ad and a range of complaints that various ads were irresponsible or contained damaging stereotypes.

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Full Article

This month, the ASA particularly considered implied health claims in relation to food and drink products, the requirement to prominently display any significant conditions of an ad and a range of complaints that various ads were irresponsible or contained damaging stereotypes.

FOOD AND DRINK

1. Premier Foods Group Ltd, 16 December 2009 ("as good today as it's always been" claim)

2. HJ Heinz Company Ltd, 13 January 2010 (implied children's health claims and regulatory authorisation)

3. Unilever UK Ltd, 13 January 2010 (long term heart health claims)

ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

4. Finnair, 6 January 2010 ("eco-smart" claims)

ALCOHOL

5. InBev UK Ltd, 7 January 2010 ("good times they're out there" claim in relation to alcohol product)

GAMBLING

6. Prime Online Ltd t/a PrimeScratchCards.com, 27 January 2010 (irresponsibility)

OTHER

7. Marcoms Associate Garmin (Europe) Ltd, 13 January 2010 (disqualifying competitors in sales promotions)

8. Reed Online, 20 January 2010 (German stereotyping complaints upheld)

9. Virgin Media, 20 January 2010 (bold comparative advertising claims)

10. Directgov t/a Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency, 27 January 2010 (limited advertising time insufficient justification for omitting significant conditions)

11. J Sainsbury plc, 27 January 2010 (significant conditions must be listed on front-page flash)

FOOD AND DRINK

1. Premier Foods Group Ltd, 16 December 2009

A TV ad for Hovis opened with a sepia-tinted Victorian scene of a young girl wandering down a cobbled street into a bakery, where individual loaves were being loaded into an oven. An accompanying voiceover stated, "At Hovis, we've always taken pride in baking bread for everyone. That's what we've taken your favourite bread and created a new range of rolls...". The scene then transformed into a present day view of the bakery, accompanied by a voiceover, which claimed: "Hovis. As good today as it's always been".

Complaint/decision

The Real Bread Campaign challenged whether the ad, and particularly the claim, "As good today as it's always been", was misleading for a number of reasons. In particular, they believed that the modern Hovis loaf was made to a different recipe from the original and now included additives, salt and sugar, an unspecified improver and undeclared processing aids. They further complained that the use of modern transportation methods, greater travelling distances of raw materials and finished products, and changes in packaging all impacted more adversely on the environment that Hovis's original produce.

The ASA did not uphold any of the complaints against Premier Foods, for the reasons given below.

First, the ASA considered that viewers were likely to understand these claims to mean that Hovis continued to meet the need of their customers just as it had since it began producing bread. The claims did not suggest that modern Hovis loaves are manufactured in exactly the same way as they have been historically, but implied that Hovis has retained its brand values and high standards.

The ASA understood that all ingredients incorporated into Hovis products were listed on the packaging in accordance with relevant labelling legislation and that the ad did not mislead consumers in this regard.

The ASA acknowledged the complainant's concerns about the socio-economic and environmental issues arising from modernisation and the expansion of production, particularly in the context of the claim "as good today as it's always been".
However, the ASA concluded that socio-economic and environmental issues were not relevant in the context of the claims made in the ad. The ASA felt that viewers were likely to interpret the ad in the context of the addition of new types of rolls to the Hovis product range, rather than as a comment on the evolution of Hovis as a business model or the corporate practices of Premier Foods more generally.

The decision not to uphold any of these complaints demonstrates the ASA taking a pragmatic approach and focussing on how claims are likely to be interpreted by viewers within the wider context created by the ad.

2. HJ Heinz Company Ltd, 13 January 2010

A TV ad for Heinz Nurture showed an adult leafing through the pages of a book entitled "Baby Nutrition", which featured chapters entitled "Nourish", "Protect" and "Develop" alongside images of a child at different development stages. The final image showed a child standing and walking unaided by an adult, and drinking from a child's drinking cup. The accompanying voiceover stated, "As it grows, a baby needs a special combination of nutrients to sustain the incredible growth in its brain, body and immune system. To provide for those three essential aspects of growth, Heinz created new Nurture, an advanced complete follow-on formula to help nourish, protect and develop your baby". On-screen text stated "Complete Follow-On-Formula to be used in conjunction with a balanced weaning diet from 6 months. Not intended to replace breast feeding". The ad ended with the image of the product, which was labelled "HEINZ nurture ... FOLLOW-ON-MILK ..." and further on-screen text that stated, "New Nurture helps nourish, protect and develop your baby."

Complaint/decision

Three viewers believed the ad was misleading because, amongst other things, they considered that it implied health claims with regard to children's immunity and development that could not be substantiated.

The ASA considered that the ad's claim to help "nourish, protect and develop" a baby's brain, body and immune system implied a specific health benefit from nurturing. As the claim referred to children's health and development, the transitional requirements of the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation were such that the claims could only be made if they complied with national provisions on food advertising before 19 January 2007 and an application for authorisation of the claim had been submitted before 19 January 2008. The ASA accepted that an application for use of claims in relation to all of Nurture's constituents had been submitted, but that only claims in relation to omega-3 and children's development had been in use in accordance with national provisions before January 2007.

Heinz submitted evidence that showed that claims for prebiotics and nucleotides "helping to support natural defences" were in use prior to the Regulation in accordance with national provisions and so Heinz believed that this requirement was satisfactorily fulfilled. However, the ASA disagreed, considering that most reasonable consumers were unlikely to consider that the claim "helps to support natural defences" had exactly the same meaning as the word "protect". The ASA believed that "protect" implied a much greater degree of fortification than "support" and therefore the claims in relation to prebiotics and nucleotides did not strictly comply with the Regulation. The ASA therefore considered, therefore, that only claims in relation to omega 3 and children's development or established claims for the further ingredients were permissible for use in the transitional period prior to any further authorisation.

Heinz had also argued that the reference to "protect" was a general, non-specific claim and therefore should be permitted within the transitional arrangements of the Regulation. However, the ASA disagreed and concluded that the ad's claim that the product helped "nourish, protect and develop a baby's brain, body and immune system during growth" was a specific health claim which required authorisation. Additionally, the ASA noted that the studies submitted by Heinz in support of their claims had many methodological limitations, for example the clinical trials were not conducted on the same age group as the target market of the product.

The ASA therefore upheld both complaints as the ad had not strictly complied with the Regulation and the evidence submitted was not sufficiently robust to support the product's claims in relation to children's immunity and development.

This adjudication demonstrates the ASA is strictly enforcing the Nutrition and Health Claims Regulation. The ASA will analyse the language of adverts closely to ensure that any claims do not go beyond the scope of any authorisations granted.

3. Unilever UK Ltd, 13 January 2010

A TV ad for Flora showed a boy eating toast in the family kitchen, leaving the house then jumping over the garden wall. He was shown jumping over the wall at various ages up to adulthood. A male voice-over stated "when I was little I had a theory, if I jumped the garden wall every day, I'd stay young forever, because there'd never be a day when I couldn't do it. I'd be 80, still leaping over the wall. These days, the theory goes that your heart age is what matters, and while my garden wall theory didn't quite go to plan, something helped keep my heart in shape over the years."

The man jumped over the garden gate and took a bite of toast. On-screen text stated "As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle." A female voice-over stated, "Flora helps maintain a healthy heart with its unique blend of omega 3 and 6, how young is your heart?" On-screen text stated "Flora HEART AGE www.floraheartage.com" (www.floraheartage.com).

Complaint/decision

One viewer challenged whether the claim "Flora helps maintain a healthy heart with its unique blend of omega 3 and 6" was misleading and could be substantiated, because he believed recent research cast doubt on the heart health benefits of omegas 3 and 6.

Two further viewers also challenged whether the 'boy to man' theme of the ad, combined with the claim "something helped keep my heart in shape over the years", misleadingly implied that Flora had a long-term beneficial effect on heart health.

The ASA understood that the first complainant believed an article published in 2009 called into question the heart health benefits of omegas 3 and 6. Nonetheless, the ASA considered that the prevailing scientific view, as stated by the Foods Standards Agency (FSA), was that saturated fats should, where possible, be substituted for polyunsaturated and unsaturated fats. The ASA also cited recent respected research that demonstrated a causal link between the dietary intake of omega 3 and 6 from plant sources and the reduction of blood cholesterol levels.

The ASA further noted that the 'boy to man' theme of the ad was clarified by the on-screen text, which referred to consuming Flora "as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle". Further, the ad referred to 'maintaining' heart health within the context of a healthy diet, rather than suggesting that Flora could improve heart health. Therefore, because the claim "something helped keep my heart in shape over the years" was not used in isolation, the ASA concluded that it would be unlikely to mislead viewers.

This adjudication followed recent complaints to the ASA in relation to another Flora ad, which were also not upheld (see our December law-now (www.law-now.com/law-now/2009/asasnapshotdec09.htm) Snapshot). It demonstrates the ASA considering the prevailing scientific views, not just isolated pieces of research, and considering claims in the context of the ad as a whole.

ENVIRONMENTAL CLAIMS

4. Finnair, 6 January 2010

A poster for Finnair featured an image of an Airbus flying over the Finnish coastline. The text stated: "Be eco-smart. Choose Finnair's brand new fleet".

Complaint/decision

Two complainants challenged whether the claim "eco-smart" misleadingly implied that flying was environmentally friendly, and whether the advertiser could substantiate that the new fleet was "eco-smart" in comparison with older planes.

The ASA noted that it was not Finnair's intention to convey the message that flying was environmentally friendly, but rather that it would be "eco-smart" to choose an airline like Finnair. However, the ASA took a somewhat strict approach and concluded that the claim "eco-smart", without appropriate qualification, was analogous with 'environmentally friendly'. The ASA believed that the ad suggested that flying with Finnair would have little detrimental effect on the environment. The ASA noted that the Code instructed advertisers to avoid such absolute claims unless they could prove that their product or service would not cause environmental damage. As this is clearly not the case in relation to air travel, the ASA upheld the first complaint.

The ASA also considered that the Finnair's claim to be "eco-smart" was actually on a data comparison between Finnair's own older and newer aircraft, rather than its competitors. The ASA also understood that Finanir's older fleet was still in use at the time the ad appeared and therefore some reader's selecting to fly with Finnair as a result of the ad may have been allocated flights on older, less environmentally friendly aircraft.

Finnair had also argued that it was preferable to fly with them as flights to Asian destinations via Helsinki were more direct than routes flown by competitors and would therefore be less environmentally damaging. In particular, Finnair believed that flights broken into two sections would be more fuel efficient than one longer flight. However, the ASA understood that not all flights would be more direct than competitors' flights and noted that Finnair had failed to provide robust per passenger per kilometre comparative data to support the claims made in the ad. Therefore the ASA upheld the second claim.

This adjudication demonstrates the ASA applying the Code strictly in relation to absolute environmental claims and unsupported comparative claims. Advertisers should ensure that any environmental claims are appropriately qualified and substantiated, and the basis of any comparative claims is made clear to readers.

ALCOHOL

5. InBev UK Ltd, 7 January 2010

A national press ad for Budweiser showed a cityscape at night. The words "GOOD TIMES THEY'RE OUT THERE" appeared in large neon letters on the rooftops.

Complaint/decision

The complainant challenged whether the ad was harmful and irresponsible, because it implied that alcohol was essential to having a good time. The ASA also questioned whether the ad was irresponsible, because it suggested that alcohol was responsible for the success of a social event.

Interestingly, neither complaint was upheld. In particular, the ASA considered it significant that the ad was removed from the context of bars and parties and did not feature any scenes of drinking or other direct associations with alcohol. The ASA therefore considered that most viewers would associate the cityscape with the general "good times" available in cities like New York, and would understand that those cities offered a range of social activities at night, rather than simply those that would involve alcohol.

Whilst the ASA considered that viewers would understand that Budweiser might be consumed during "good times", it did not believe that the ad directly suggested that alcohol was the reason for the success of any social event or that it was imperative to drink Budweiser, or any other alcoholic drink, to ensure the success of those activities.

Therefore the ASA concluded that the ad was not irresponsible or harmful in this regard. This adjudication may demonstrate the ASA taking a pragmatic approach to alcohol advertising where messages are conveyed in an abstract and stylised manner and direct alcohol-related text or imagery is avoided.

GAMBLING

6. Prime Online Ltd t/a PrimeScratchCards.com, 27 January 2010

Two online ads for Prime Scratchcards featured testimonials from women who appeared to have been struggling financially, before winning money on Prime Scratchcards. In one ad, there was a photograph of a woman with a baby alongside text stating that, "I am a single mom & I live on family benefits, I played and won...I was very stressed for my son's future and I couldn't sleep, now that I won I know that I can help my son build a better future". A second ad featured a woman who had been recently made redundant smiling with a cheque. Accompanying text explained how the woman could now pay off her debts and go on holiday.

Complaint/decision

The ASA received 10 complaints in relation to the first ad and one complaint in relation to the second. Readers believed that the ads irresponsibly exploited the susceptibilities and aspirations of vulnerable people by suggesting that gambling offered a solution to financial worries, such as redundancy, debt or the costs of raising children on benefits.

The ASA expressed concerns that the message of the ads was likely to appeal to people in similar circumstances and encourage them to gamble as a means to gaining future financial security or dealing with financial concerns associated with redundancy. In particular, the ASA criticised the ads for exploiting the susceptibilities of vulnerable people. The ASA concluded that the ad encouraged gambling as a solution to financial stress and this could lead to both financial and emotional harm. For these reasons, the ASA upheld both complaints on the grounds of irresponsibility. This adjudication raised similar concerns to that of Partouche Betting Ltd t/a partouche-betting.com, 8 October 2008, in which the advertiser used headlines, including, "BET TO FORGET" and "CLICK OR REGRET" (click here (www.law-now.com/law-now/2008/asanov08.htm#partouche) for details).

Whilst the ASA's decision in this particular adjudication is unsurprising, it reminds advertisers that the ASA will apply the Code strictly in relation to gambling ads. Advertisers should always exercise caution when using testimonials to ensure that advertising messages are conveyed responsibly.

OTHER

7. Marcoms Associate Garmin (Europe) Ltd, 13 January 2010

An ad for an online competition offered entrants the opportunity to win a 'Sat Nav' and a trip Canada by entering a geocaching and photography competition. Entrants were required to select one of the geocaches related to the contest, take a photo of the area and upload it. Weekly winners would then be determined by a public vote. Significantly, the terms and conditions of the competition stated, "By entering the promotion, you agree fully and unconditionally to be bound by these Rules and the decisions of Garmin. In the event of any dispute regarding the Rules, conduct, results and all other matters relating to the promotion, the decision of Garmin shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into...."

Complaint/decision

Two complainants thought that the competition had not been conducted fairly because they were disqualified.

The first complainant was disqualified on the basis that she had used a photograph that was not her own and had been taken in 2008, whereas the competition started in 2009. However, she argued that the photograph was hers and had been taken by her in the area of the geocache which she had selected, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the ad. A second complainant was also disqualified. Garmin had not given reasons for the disqualification, but the entrant believed it was on the basis that she had not logged any caches. However, the terms and conditions did not state that logging caches was a condition of entry.

Garmin explained that it had discovered that the accounts of the two entrants had been created from the same IP address, on the same day, using the same password and concluded that the second entrant was the same person as the individual who had recently been disqualified, and was trying to enter the competition again fraudulently. The fact that the entrant had not logged any caches added to the suspicious circumstances as all of the other weekly winners had logged caches; however, this had not been the sole reason for disqualification .

The ASA acknowledged Garmin's arguments and concluded that, although it was possible that the entrants had entered the competition legitimately, Garmin did have understandable reasons for suspecting that they were not genuine. The ASA did consider that Garmin could have done more to investigate their suspicions. However, significantly, the ASA concluded that this was not strictly necessary as the terms and conditions clearly stated that the decision of Garmin would be final in the event of any dispute and that no correspondence or discussions would be entered into. Further, even if Garmin had done more to investigate, it would have been difficult to establish with any certainty whether their suspicions were correct or incorrect. The ASA also noted that Garmin had given a runner-up prize to the second entrant as a gesture of goodwill. Taking into account all of these factors, the ASA concluded that Garmin had not acted unreasonably in disqualifying both entrants.

This adjudication demonstrates the practical significance of including a clause in the promotional terms and conditions to expressly state that the promoter has sole discretion in the event of any dispute. It also indicates that gestures of goodwill are looked on favourably in cases where there have been issues with the manner in which a promotion or competition has been managed.

8. Reed Online, 20 January 2010

A radio ad for a recruitment website featured a man speaking to his boss, who responded angrily and loudly in German. The voice-over said, "Boss a bit of a tyrant? Find your perfect boss on the UK's biggest job site..."

Complaint/Decision

Thirteen listeners believed that the ad was offensive to Germans because it used an outdated stereotype and implied all Germans were tyrants.

Whilst the ASA acknowledged that stereotypes would be an inevitable part of establishing a character in a short radio ad, they nonetheless considered that such stereotypes should avoid perpetuating damaging misconceptions. The ASA believed that the humour in the ad was derived at the expense of the German people, and the extreme reaction and aggressive tone of the German-speaking boss reinforced negative and outdated stereotypes.

The adjudication mirrors the strict approach taken by the ASA against Virgin over complaints that an ad for a TV dating programme was "gingerist" (see our December Law-Now (www.law-now.com/law-now/2009/asasnapshotdec09.htm) Snapshot). Both adjudications highlight that advertisers must consider carefully whether any potentially offensive advertising messages or stereotypes are genuinely light-hearted in overall tone. The ASA is likely deem an ad offensive in instances where the tone lacks humour and the ad appears to demonstrate unfair prejudice against particular groups or reinforces negative outdated stereotypes.

9. Virgin Media Ltd, 20 January 2010

A direct mailing for Virgin Media stated, "Dear Sky ... I've found someone else. They can give me everything you did including my favourite Sky channels - Sky 1, Sky Sports, Sky Movies - and so much more...."

The ad went on to list several benefits of being a Virgin Media customer and stated, "As well as being completely free, V+HD lets you pause and rewind live TV, just like Sky+HD ... You get all your favourite Sky channels ... you'll get 160 channels ... so you won't miss any of your favourite shows ... Why pay extra for HD channels? Unlike Sky who charge £9.75 extra a month (that's £117 a year), we won't charge you extra ... servicing and repairs are free."

The ad also featured a price comparison table showing that customers would save £343.50 if they switched to Virgin Media.

Complaint/decision

Sky challenged the ad on a number of grounds, including whether:

(i) the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that "free" offers were subject to a 12-month contract for XL TV;

(ii) the description of the HD box as "completely free" and the claim "servicing and repairs are free" were both misleading because the ad did not make clear that the V+HD box remained the property of Virgin Media, whereas Sky customers owned their own HD boxes;

(iv) the claim "You get all your favourite Sky channels ... 160 channels ..." was misleading, because customers on the equivalent Sky package could get 348 channels; and

(v) the price comparison was misleading because it did not include the cost of Virgin Media broadband, despite comparisons with a Sky package that included broadband.

The first claim was not upheld as the ASA considered that consumers would be familiar with the fact that this type of offer was often subject to a minimum term contract and that twelve months was often the minimum that a customer would expect.

However, all of the other complaints were upheld. In particular, the ASA noted the bold unqualified claim that Virgin Media "can give me everything you [Sky] did including my favourite channels...and so much more" implied that Virgin Media offered all of the same channels as Sky and was likely to mislead. The ASA concluded that the comparative savings claims were neither clear nor fair as the ad did not make clear that Virgin Media offered fewer channels than a comparable Sky package and other information, such as Virgin Media's continued ownership of the HD box, was also omitted from the ad. Further, in order for the comparison to enable consumers to make a choice between the competing services, the ad should have prominently stated that the Sky price was inclusive of a broadband service.

Bold comparative advertising claims are continuing to play an important role in increasingly competitive markets such as digital television and internet services. However, this latest adjudication in the long running battle between Sky and Virgin Media over their respective advertisements reminds advertisers of the need to ensure that the basis of any comparisons are made sufficiently clear to consumers and that any information that is likely to affect a consumer's choice is featured prominently in the ad. The ASA is likely to take a strict approach in cases where comparisons are unclear.

10. Directgov t/a Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency, 27 January 2010

A radio ad for the photocard-style driving licence stated, "Cassette tapes, the one pound note, long hot summers, they're all a thing of the past like the paper driving licence. If you've still got one, an old paper licence that is, you can change it for a swanky new photocard licence instead. You can update your details quickly and conveniently online. Just go to direct.gov.uk/exchange licence".

Complaint/Decision

Five listeners believed the ad was misleading, because it failed to state that a £20 fee was payable to exchange a paper driving licence for a photocard.

The ASA understood that the primary message the DVLA wanted to convey that it was possible to switch from an old style paper to a new photocard driving licence online. The ASA also acknowledged the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre's comments that the ad was limited to 20 seconds and that a website address was quoted to direct consumers to the relevant further information.

However, the ASA considered that the main message readers were likely to take from the ad is that paper driving licences were "a thing of the past" but could be changed for a "swanky new" photocard licence. The ASA noted that the ad had caused actual confusion as the complainants, after hearing the ad, had believed that the exchange of licences would be free and were disappointed to find from the website address to which the ad directed them, that a fee of £20 applied. The ASA considered that this interpretation was understandable, particularly as the phrase "exchange licence" was used repeatedly and without qualification, implying that it would be a direct transfer of one type of licence for another, rather than paying for a new replacement licence.

For these reasons, the ASA considered that the fee was a significant factor likely to influence consumers' understanding of the products advertised and their decision about whether or not to visit the website to update their details or make the switch. Therefore, whilst the ad did not specifically claim that the service offered was free, the ASA concluded that the message conveyed was unclear and could mislead and disappoint consumers.

This adjudication demonstrates that limited advertising space will not be considered a satisfactory excuse for omitting significant conditions of a promotion, even where the ad directs consumers to a website address containing all of the relevant information. Further, an ad does not need to expressly state something as being free but, instead, this can be implied from the wording as a whole, particularly if the fee is omitted.

11. J Sainsbury plc, 27 January 2010

A front-page flash on the Daily Express said "FREE FIREWORKS FOR EVERY READER AT Sainsbury's". Separate text said "WORTH £29.99". Small text printed vertically said "WHEN YOU SPEND £15 AT PARTICIPATING SAINSBURY'S STORES SEE PAGE 31". On page 31 the promotion was headed "FREE* FIREWORKS AT SAINSBURYS". This linked to further text in the body of the promotion which said, "* when they spend £14.99 or more on Fireworks". The terms and conditions section of the ad stated, "Licensed participating stores only".

Complaint/Decision

One complainant challenged whether the term "every reader" was misleading because Sainsbury's branches in Northern Ireland were not participating in the promotion.

The ASA believed that readers were likely to interpret the claim "every reader" used in conjunction with the disclaimer " ... at participating Sainsbury's stores" to mean that, while some stores were not participating, enough would be taking part for most readers to be able to take advantage of the offer. However, the ASA understood that the Daily Express was on sale in Northern Ireland, where no Sainsbury's stores were participating in the offer. The ASA therefore concluded that the term "every reader" was misleading as none of the readers in Northern Ireland would reasonably have an opportunity to take part.

This decision highlights that advertisers should be wary of relying solely on a general disclaimer to clarify an offer, particularly in instances where the headline claim uses wording which would ordinarily imply that an offer is unrestricted, for example "every" or "all" readers.

A second reader also challenged whether the ad was misleading because it did not make clear that the £14.99 referred to in the ad had to be spent specifically on fireworks. The ASA agreed that this was a significant condition likely to influence consumers in their decision to purchase the paper and take up the offer, and should have been stated in the front-page flash itself. The ASA noted that the front-page flash stated "WHEN YOU SPEND £15 AT PARTICIPATING SAINSBURY'S STORES SEE PAGE 31" but did not make it sufficiently clear to readers that the £15 had to be spent on any particular product ranges.

This adjudication demonstrates the importance of ensuring that any significant conditions are prominently displayed on the front-page flash, rather than referring customers to a separate page of the newspaper. This adjudication follows a recent complaint in relation to an Easyjet ad (see our December Law-Now Snapshot), where the ASA held that it was not sufficient for significant pricing information to be made available to consumers on a "click-through" internet link if it would be possible for consumers to purchase the product without accessing this information. Both adjudications highlight the importance of placing information that is likely significantly to affect a consumer's decision to purchase in the ad itself, rather than directing customers to another source of information.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 25/02/2010.

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Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.