SINGAPORE: The Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore (ASAS) on Tuesday (Apr 30) said it received 19 instances of feedback about beauty-related advertisements in 2018, making it the most complained about industry for the year.
Restaurant advertisements came next, with 18 complaints. ASAS received 218 instances of feedback last year, mostly about advertisements deemed to be misleading.
Most of the feedback for the beauty industry, which includes beauty and slimming treatments, involved claims about hair loss treatments that complainants felt were misleading, ASAS said.
Additionally, these advertisements did not have the mandatory disclaimer for hair and scalp products listed in the Singapore Code of Advertising Practice (SCAP). This disclaimer states that “there is no scientific proof that any product (except certain registered medicinal products) or service can retard hair loss or promote hair growth”.
“ASAS followed up with the advertisers involved to ensure that their advertisements included the above disclaimer,” the authority said.
There were also three cases involving promotions that the complainants said were not honoured due to the terms and conditions referred to, but not written in the advertisement, ASAS added.
“While these promotions had ended when they were reported, ASAS advised the relevant businesses that future promotions should comply with the SCAP,” it said. “Advertisers are reminded that promotional information must be truthful, and all pertinent terms and conditions must be clearly stated.
“If an advertisement does not include the terms and conditions, it should make it easy for the consumer to find them.”
Complaints about restaurant advertisements also increased in 2018, mostly involving matters such as price and discount discrepancies or a lack in clarity in descriptions of items in menus and in promotional materials.
These included advertisements in food delivery and restaurant reservation applications, ASAS said.
ASAS highlighted one example, in which the promotion display on a fast food establishment’s counter offered an upsize on a drink and a side order for S$1. The accompanying image featured a side order and orange juice, but customers who ordered the upsize with orange juice were charged S$2 instead.
ASAS then wrote to the establishment, which then clarified that the promotion applied only to soft drinks. The establishment then said it would change the image to prevent future misunderstandings.
“Advertisers should ensure the information on their promotional materials is clear, accurate and up-to-date, and this extends to prices and terms and conditions,” ASAS said.
The authority encouraged consumers to report advertisements that are “not legal, decent, honest or truthful”.
They can fill out the feedback form on the ASAS website with a copy of the advertisement and details on where it was accessed or received.