Ofcom, the media regulator, has reprimanded Nestlé and Flybe for using advertising messages in their sponsorships of ITV weather bulletins.
Nestlé Cereals, sponsor of GMTV Weather, and Flybe, which sponsors STV Weather and ITV West Country Weather, were both found in breach of rules requiring sponsor credits to be distinct from advertising.
A viewer complained to the regulator over the accuracy of the claim “helping you get the three servings of wholegrain you need everyday” contained in Nestle’s credit. In response to the complaint, GMTV provided documentation to substantiate the claim.
The Advertising Standards Association had previously banned an ad for Nestlé Cereals that carried the same claim (MW June 12), but Ofcom ruled that the statement should not have appeared in the credit meaning that supporting evidence was not needed.
A number of Flybe sponsorship credits included references to services such as online check-in, reward points, VIP lounges and a seating service, which Ofcom governed to be advertising messages. On reviewing the credits ITV Compliance accepted that a number were inappropriate and asked Flybe’s advertising agency, Souk Communications, to re-edit the idents “as a matter of urgency”.
In both cases, the regulator recorded a breach of rule 9.13, which states that “specific or detailed descriptions of a sponsor’s business or products are likely to be viewed as promotional and are therefore unacceptable”.