AUTH/3179/4/19 - Complainant v GlaxoSmithKline

Online promotion of Seritide

  • Received
    02 April 2019
  • Case number
  • Applicable Code year
  • Completed
    16 September 2019
  • Breach Clause(s)
  • Sanctions applied
    Undertaking received
  • Additional sanctions
  • Appeal
    No appeal
  • Review
    To be published in the February Review

Case Summary

On being informed of the outcome of Case AUTH/3148/1/19, the complainant, who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, raised matters which had arisen from GlaxoSmithKline’s response. It appeared that material that was not certified was used by an agency working for the company.

The material at issue in Case AUTH/3148/1/19 was a dynamic digital banner advertisement for Seretide Evohaler (fluticasone/salmeterol). The material was certified as a rotating four frame advertisement. However, unbeknown to GlaxoSmithKline, the third party agency which distributed the banner advertisement had arranged for frame 2 to be the static ‘back-up’ image that would be shown if there were problems with viewing the whole advertisement; such problems usually occurred when individuals used old browsers. The complainant had provided a screenshot of frame 2, although it was not clear as to whether he/she had only seen that frame or all four frames and only downloaded the second. The Panel had considered that the back-up frame (frame 2) was, in effect, a separate advertisement for some viewers and should be treated as such.

The detailed response from GlaxoSmithKline is given below.

The Panel noted GlaxoSmithKline’s concerns and comments about the complaint in Case AUTH/3179/4/19.

GlaxoSmithKline submitted that the four frame advertisement was certified in accordance with the Code.

In considering Case AUTH/3179/4/19, the Panel noted its previous ruling and considered that although GlaxoSmithKline had not intended for frame 2 of the advertisement to be used on its own and did not know that was what its third party agency planned to do, GlaxoSmithKline did not, therefore, certify it for such use. GlaxoSmithKline had been let down by its agency which had planned for the use of the frame 2 advertisement in certain circumstances. The Panel considered that it had little option other than to rule a breach of Clause 14.1 of the 2016 Code as uncertified material had been used. The Panel decided that this ruling covered the alleged breaches of Clauses 14.5 and 14.6 of the Code which related to the content of a certificate and the need to preserve it.