Who to Complain To

If you dislike an advertisement you can complain to the advertising Standards Authority, the Commission for Racial Equality and the company that is paying for the advert. Or you  can complain to them all. The managing director is unlikely to see your letter but his secretary may well pass it down the line to some one who will respond. The marketing director is the man who commissioned the advert, knows which market it is aimed at and knows how much it cost. He has a serious interest in how well these things work.

When you write a letter have a valid complaint, be polite, to the point  and sensible. If you get the arrogant brush off, something the police specialize in the follow up is called for. Your MP can be very effective. He can ask a Parliamentary Question of the Minister. He can't be brushed off so easily.

Advertising Standards Authority
The Advertising Standards Authority works to keep advertising legal, decent, honest and truthful.  The ASA resolves thousands of complaints each year.
That sounds reasonable. And you can even do it directly on line by going to their home page or
how to complain


They have their very own complaints department. You can give them something to do. It is on line but you can use snail mail if you really want. You can even phone them and pay THEM money to listen to you by calling  an 0870 number.
The real test of any organization is how it deals with complaints from the public.
Michael Grade
BBC Chairman
They talk the talk. Do they walk the walk? Call their bluff!


Commission for Racial Equality
Is about equality for Englishmen as well - according to the words in the Act. It is not the intention, far from it. The name is an advertising prospectus.  Make them live up to it. They have the job of enforcing the Race Relations Act 1976. This means that they can initiate prosecutions using RRA 1976. See

These can :

If you object to the way that they have treated you then you can complain using complaints.html

The race equality duty is on line and can be down loaded as a freebie.


Ofcom deals with television, telecommunication, and broadcasting standards.

Ofcom was designed to be a 'super regulator', required in an age where many media platforms are converging. Ofcom was initially established in the Office of Communications Act 2002, but received its full authority from the Communications Act 2003. On December 29, 2003, Ofcom inherited the duties that had previously been the responsibility of five regulatory bodies:

It is their specific responsibility to deal with complaints from listeners. In one case there were  24 complaints about  Fox News claiming that the Beeb was a pack of liars. Ofcom told them off. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ofcom on the point.

Go to http://www.ofcom.org.uk/ for a direct link to their complaints  department.


Press Complaints Commission
The PCC regulates newspapers and magazine but it has no legal powers. It does have newspaper men on its committee which leads to accusations of being to cozy with the industry. They have a code of practice which covers:-

  • Accuracy
  • Opportunity to reply
  • Privacy
  • Harassment
  • Intrusion into grief or shock
  • Children
  • Children in sex cases
  • Listening Devices
  • Hospitals
  • Reporting of crime.
  • Misrepresentation
  • Victims of sexual assault
  • Discrimination
  • Financial journalism
  • Confidential sources
  • Witness payments in criminal trials
  • Payment to criminals
  • See the Wikipedia on the point. Go to pcc.org.uk for a direct link to their complaints department.

    Finding the marketing people can be easy or more difficult. Do a search on the company name using your favourite search engine. I tried Heineken because it was the first name that came to mind and got 7,700,000 hits.

    Heineken does not work but then the world is not a perfect place. Their serious home page does. It is at heinekeninternational.com and has a 'contact us' link.


    Errors & omissions, broken links, cock ups, over-emphasis, malice [ real or imaginary ] or whatever; if you find any I am open to comment.

    Email me at Mike Emery. All financial contributions are cheerfully accepted. If you want to keep it private, use my PGP Key
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    Updated on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 18:38:59