A specialist James Bond magazine has been censured over claims it was read by ‘thousands of fans in 37 countries worldwide’– after being shopped to the advertising watchdog by rival 007 Magazine.
The boast was made on 21 June 2011 on its website mi6confidential.com, prompting 007 Magazine to challenge whether the claim was ‘misleading and could be substantiated”.
MI6 Confidential responded by sending the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) a list of partially redacted email addresses from its latest sales records which it said backed its claims.
But the ASA upheld 007 Magazine’s complaint – arguing that when magazines make claims about distribution the figures should be independently audited by a third party, such as the Audit Bureau of Circulation, to ensure the figures were ‘accurate and verifiable”.
The ASA said: ‘Because the claims with regard to the number of readers and their distribution worldwide were not based on independently audited figures, we concluded the claims had not been substantiated and were therefore misleading.”
The ASA said the ad must not appear again in its current form and told MI6 Confidential they should not make readership or distribution claims unless they were substantiated by an independent audit.