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Nicholas Cage

My Complaint To The Asa

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Quitting smoking recently has given me this OAP attitude. I thought it was a bit poor for the co-op to be donating money to the Labour party voluntarily, Gordon Brown ran under the co-operative party banner as well.

They advertise they will not do business with people who trade in arms or oppressive regimes.


Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority. I apologise for the delay in contacting you.

We have considered your complaint and the ad in question but have decided that we don’t have grounds for further action on this occasion.

While I do appreciate that you are concerned about the claim in the ad in light of the Labour Government’s foreign policy, we note that the advertisers have explained their ethical policies on their website. This explains that they will not lend to companies that are involved with unethical practices such as arms-dealing with oppressive regimes. Their Policy on the Arms Trade document (also available on their website at http://www.goodwithmoney.co.uk/servlet/Sat.../GoodWithMoney) specifies that this means that they will not lend money to any business involved in the manufacture or transfer of arms supplied to oppressive regimes.

When considering complaints about TV ads, our concern is with how these will be understood by those who see them. The voiceover in the ad states “The Co-operative Bank refuses to invest in oppressive regimes or any business that provides them with arms “. We think it is clear that the advertisers’ claims refer to companies who have an immediate involvement to unethical business practices as defined by their policy statements. We also think that most people are likely to consider that, while the Labour party may have connections to the trade of arms in terms of the commercial climate that its foreign policy facilitates, it is not, in itself, an arms dealer. On this basis we feel that the ad is unlikely to mislead consumers.

The number of complaints we receive is not the primary factor we consider but it does indicate whether there are serious problems with a specific advertisement. Although this product has been advertised for quite a while, we have received no other complaints about it, a fact which would appear to support our assessment. However, we will continue to monitor any future audience response to this advertising.

They advertisers state on their website that their ethical policies are based on the concerns of their customers. Therefore, if you feel strongly that the advertisers should not loan money to the Labour party, I would suggest you contact the advertisers directly at ethics@co-operative.coop.

I am sorry that we are unable to help you further but I thank you for taking the time to contact us and I hope that you will find this information helpful.

Yours sincerely

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  • 401 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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