The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint made against Northcliffe’s Stroud Life over its claims that it was the leading local newspaper.
Rival publishers Newsquest Wales and Gloucestershire (Newsquest) lodged a complaint with the advertising watchdog over a front-page flash claming Stroud Life was the “No.1 local newspaper in Stroud and the Five Valleys”.
Upholding the complaint, the ASA ruled the claim that Stroud Life was the “No.1 local newspaper in Stroud and the Five Valleys” was not qualified with any supporting evidence.
The ad failed to make clear if it was referring to circulation, readership or another criterion, the ASA said, nor was it qualified by reference to a particular time period.
The ASA said: “The lack of that information made it impossible for readers to determine the basis for the comparisonâ€¦
“We concluded that the basis for the claim was ambiguous and was therefore misleading.”
The advertising regulator ruled that Gloucester Media, the division of Northcliffe responsible for the ad, should not publish it again in its current form.
A second complaint made by Newsquest over an advert claiming “Stroud Life is Stroud’s No 1 newspaper” was rejected by the ASA after it ruled that the inclusion of audited circulation figures qualified the claim.
Gloucester Media told the ASA it did not consider the first ad misleading as it appeared in the same publication as the second ad which contained the circulation information.
Despite this, the ASA found said the first ad lacked a reference or signpost or a link to ad where readers could find out more information to verify the basis of the comparative claim.