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Martyn Gerrard laments “overreaction” to ad that ASA wants taken down

Agent questions whether regulator had its 'happy and positive' ad in mind when drawing up code.

Nigel Lewis

An estate agency asked to remove a poster advert from an Underground Station in north London by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following a complaint from the public has hit out against the decision.

David Smith (pictured, below), who is Marketing and Compliance Director at 14-branch Martyn Gerrard, says that although in the “strict interpretation of the rules” the ASA code means the complainant is technically correct, he wonders is this is “really the sort of image they had in mind when they devised their rules? I very much doubt it”.

david smith“We were quite surprised to receive the letter from the ASA,” he told The Negotiator. “This particular advert was on an underground station platform and had been up for over a year.”

The ASA rules say an advert can’t condone or encourage an unsafe practice or show anything that will result in physical, mental or moral harm.

The ASA wrote via email to Martyn Gerrard on 10th March and in his reply to them David agreed to take the advert down, as we reported yesterday, but highlighted his disappointment with the request. He wondered if the complaint may have come from a “vexatious competitor agent” rather than a concerned parent, and if it was a real complaint “then it is their offspring I feel sorry for”.

“They will have had the excitement, adventure and wonder of life sucked out of them. I am sure later life will prove very dull,” he says.

“I am obviously disappointed that this particular advert, on a tube station platform, has been singled out as a danger to the children of the area.

“Especially as you can buy a birthday card with the same image on it in the newsagents next to the station.

“We, wearily and with a sigh of resignation to the vanishing spirt of wonder and adventure of childhood, accept that this advert is to be removed from the station. The campaign is ending in 14 days in any event, but we have asked the advertising company if they can take this advert down earlier.”

March 23, 2017

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