There is a lot to think about when creating good marketing material – does it have impact? Will it engage and connect with the audience? Is all key information included? Is it timely? Is there a clear call to action? The list goes on…

Ensuring that all of these boxes are ticked becomes second nature to good marketers, but there are also some boxes you don’t want to tick to avoid confusing or ambiguous campaigns.

Marketing communications should not mislead consumers by making exaggerated claims, leaving out key information or by presenting it in an unclear or untimely way. It is also essential that marketers are able to provide documentary evidence to support any claims they are making.

Following the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) Misleading Advertising advice morning in May, I have put together my five top tips to avoid misleading consumers.

  1. Ensure marketing communications are recognisable as such.
    Do not attempt to disguise the fact that it is an advertisement/editorial/campaign etc, even when communicating via social media platforms. The communication should always be identified as an advert and the commercial intent should be made clear. e.g. #advertorial
  2. Do not omit significant information.
    Be careful not to mislead consumers by omitting key information which is required by the consumer to make informed decisions in relation to the product/service. If constrained by time or space, the information should be made available to consumers by other means. e.g. full terms and conditions available on
  3. Qualification of any statements/claims must be presented clearly.
    Qualification of any claims or statements on a communication should be clearly presented – so not in tiny font and not in white font on a light background. They may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. e.g. ‘Delivered same day’ should not then be qualified with small print to the effect of ‘Only on orders received between 2am and 3pm and subject to a three mile radius’.
  4. Hold supporting evidence.
    Ensure you hold robust documentary evidence to prove any claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective. e.g. survey outcomes, testimonial contact details, testing results including placebo group/control group (where relevant) etc.
  5. Stay informed and ask the experts.
    Make use of the services offered by CAP and ASA. Contact the copy advice team and use the free advice service or the express advice service (for quick turnarounds) if ever you are unsure. Sign up to their newsletters, twitter feed and attend events to stay up to date.

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