Morning Advertiser circulation claims were 'misleading'

Pub trade paper the Morning Advertiser made misleading claims about its circulation and that of its rival The Publican, the advertising industry watchdog has ruled.

The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints brought by Publican publishers CMPi over an advert for the Morning Advertiser, which is owned by William Reed publications.

The advert claimed that the Morning Advertiser ‘has the biggest and most qualified circulation in England and Wales within the food & drink/wine & spirit trade ABC market sector’and that circulation figures for its rival were ‘NOT profiled or endorsed by the ABC”.

The ASA ruled that the quoted ABC figure for the Morning Advertiser, 31,084, included circulation figures for Scotland, Northern Ireland and other countries and that because the Publican had not published a profile certificate from ABC, direct comparisons between the two publications’ circulation in England and Wales were not possible and therefore misleading.

The watchdog also faulted the Morning Advertiser’s advert for drawing comparisons between circulation figures over two different time periods.

The adjudication said: ‘Because The Publican’s total and controlled circulation figures had been higher on average than the Morning Advertiser’s, both for the ABC’s standard 12-month reporting period, and for the period from 1 August to 31 October 2006, we considered that the claim ‘biggest and most qualified circulation’ was misleading.”

Finally, the ASA ruled that the claim that The Publican’s ciculation was ‘NOT profiled or endorsed by the ABC’was misleading and unsubstantiated because the Publican is, in fact, audited by ABC.

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