A weekly newspaper in Northern Ireland, Derry News, has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority for an ‘ambiguous’ readership claim.
Rival paper The Derry Journal complained that an ad – which listed a number of locations and their population – implied that the readership of the Derry News could be equal to the listed figures.
The Derry Journal said it “did not believe independent audits of readership or circulation could substantiate that”.
The ad read: “Sometimes you need to advertise your business locally. Sometimes you need to go further. Reach a potential population of over a million people.”
It then listed Irish counties and population figures taken from the 2001 Northern Ireland census.
Derry News defended the advert, saying it was aimed at larger advertisers who might wish to advertise across its group of papers.
It said there had been no intention to imply that the figures quoted represented the paper’s readership.
But the Advertising Standards Authority concluded that the ad was ambiguous and likely to mislead.
It ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form.