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Ofcom ITV QualitySolicitors

This Morning breached broadcasting code with lawyer plug, Ofcom finds

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By Ishbel Macleod, PR and social media consultant

October 24, 2011 | 2 min read

Ofcom has said that a plug by guest Amanda Holden for QualitySolicitors while appearing on ITV’s This Morning breached the broadcasting code.

The star was interviewed about her roles on Britain's Got Talent and in the show Shrek The Musical in July.

When asked what else she was doing, Holden said: "I'm part of this new campaign as well that I wanted to come and talk to you about.

"It's called QualitySolicitors. Basically, if you need a solicitor you can walk into WHSmith.

"It's on the high street now. There are 100 WHSmiths in the country and there is a list that's now recommended by the public, for the public, of solicitors who are kosher, who are not going to rip you off and who can help you and it's completely free. You get advice free."

One of the presenters replied “I think it’s good having something like that ‘cos there’s a culture now where you put the telly on in the morning and there’s all these adverts – all these words of blame and claim – and I think … you know, they’re sort of like vultures really, and so get, you know, a decent firm…”

Under current rules, products and services must not be promoted or given undue prominence in programming, to protect viewers from surreptitious advertising.

ITV said it believed the broadcast references to QualitySolicitors were editorially justified, as it considered that Holden’s recent involvement with the organisation was of interest to viewers. The broadcaster acknowledged that Ms Holden “certainly referred to the benefits of the list of firms promoted under the QualitySolicitors scheme” but considered such comments “were not excessively promotional and did not exceed the editorial requirements of the programme.”

Ofcom said that viewers would be likely to conclude that the interview gave her the opportunity to promote her QualitySolicitor campaign, and that one of the presenters appeared to endorse it.

The broadcasting body therefore ruled that the programme promoted QualitySolicitors, its law firms and WHSmith and was in breach of points 9.4 and 9.5 of the code.

Ofcom ITV QualitySolicitors

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