ASA dismisses complaints against Law Society’s anti-insurer advertising campaign

Advert: unlikely to cause distress

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed complaints made about the Law Society’s ‘Don’t get mugged by an insurer’ campaign without an investigation.

The adverts raised the ire of insurers and their lawyers, and the ASA received six complaints, with objections that it denigrated insurers, suggested they were criminals or who beat up or bullied claimants.

Others insisted that the image was inappropriate and likely to distress victims of muggings or personal violence.

The Law Society robustly defended the advertisement, arguing that it sought to reinforce the value of seeking advice from a solicitor in “an intentionally thought provoking and memorable way”.

An ASA spokeswoman said: “After careful consideration of the complaints, the ASA council has decided that there are no grounds for further action and we will not be launching an investigation.

“As the ad referred to accident victims, consumers were likely to interpret the image as intended to represent a personal injury claimant and the claim ‘don't get mugged’ as a colloquial reference to consumers losing out in terms of compensation.”

She said the council considered that in general people would not see the advert as suggesting that insurers were criminals or that it was likely to denigrate insurers.

“While the injuries were realistically depicted and the imagery may have particular resonance with victims of muggings or violence, it was clear that the ad referred to accident victims and that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or distress,” she said.

The central claim in the campaign is that PI claimants should reject an insurer’s initial offer and take legal advice to get an average of three times more compensation. This was based on research from the Financial Services Authority acquired via the Freedom of Information Act.

The campaign has now run its six-week course but the row has arguably given it a much higher profile than it would otherwise have had.