New Zealand Law Society - Advertiser must be clearly identified, Authority rules

Advertiser must be clearly identified, Authority rules

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has partly upheld a complaint that a newspaper ad on the “power of prayer” was unclear.  

An advertorial for the UCKG Help Centre healing events contained testimonials from people who claimed they had been helped by the power of prayer as well as details about the five centres holding events.

The complainant said the identity of the advertiser was not clear and unsubstantiated claims were being presented as fact.

The church said the advertisement presented their opinion about the benefits of evangelical healing. They said the organisation’s name was used eight times and the word ‘belief’ used seven times which met the requirements of an advocacy advertisement in terms of identity and opinion criteria.

The ASA’s Complaints Board ruled the identity of the advertiser was not clear. It also agreed that the general consumer take-out was the advertisement was promoting an event for evangelical healing and this was presented as opinion that God could heal a variety of ailments. It said the disclaimer in the advertisement helped prevent any breach of the Code of Ethics.

Accordingly, the board ruled the complaint was partly upheld.

Meanwhile, the ASA has dealt with a complaint by a driver who was issued a parking ticket because of an error on a notification sign.

A Wilson Parking sign in Christchurch outlined the parking rates:

Per hour                                                         $3.00

Saturday / Sunday
Valid for 12 hours from time of purchase       N/A

The complainant said the sign was misleading because it implied there were no parking fees at the weekend.  The motorist had received a fine when parking at this carpark on a Sunday and noticed a number of other vehicles with tickets.

The ASA noted that Wilson had immediately rectified the error on the sign and voided the parking ticket as well as other breach notices issued during the short time the error was on the sign.

Given Wilson’s co-operation with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in amending the advertisement, the ASA ruled that the complaint was settled.