Complaint against ‘misleading’ Smart Pension ad overturned

A complaint against a "misleading" advert by Smart Pension has not been upheld, the Advertising Standards Association (ASA) has ruled.

The ruling, handed down yesterday, 6 February, did not uphold the previous decision after it concluded that the advert “was unlikely to cause distress to recipients without justifiable reason”, following a complaint that the tone of the advert was threatening.

The complaint related to the letterhead, which stated ‘Failing to set up your workplace pension now could blow a serious hole in your company finances’.

Overturning the ruling, ASA said: “We considered that distress may have been caused to some recipients whose businesses had not, at that stage, enrolled their staff into a pension scheme.

“However, because it was a legal requirement for businesses to enrol their employees into a pension and the consequences of failing to do so could result in the sanctions outlined in the ad, we considered that such distress was not unjustified.

“We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause distress to recipients without justifiable reason.”

The original ruling also questioned whether the advert was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and that it misleadingly suggested it was official communication.

Responding to the compliant, Smart Pension said the advert had been prepared following a previous ruling against their advertising.

As a result, the envelope, in which it was sent, stated ‘New regulations – marketing and communications from Smart Pension Ltd’.

The original complaint against the master trust was made on 23 November 2016, however, despite Smart Pension’s willingness to comply, the decision was upheld again on 13 September 2017.

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