Social Media: When does satire go too far?

Discussion in 'Legal' started by columbo, Dec 15, 2017.

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  1. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

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    We know our audience pretty well. We run adverts on Facebook that really click with them. This is excellent for brand awareness.

    But here is my question.

    I have an ad at the moment which gently satirises a multinational company. They are not our competition. They make equipment which most of our "trade" customers know is terrible quality. Using a visual, that ad pokes fun at this multinational corp and mentions their name in the ad's headline. Nothing nasty. Just a "Have I got News for You" type jibe.

    But, on reflection, am I on risky ground here? Some of our posts get seen by 10k+ audiences.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
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  2. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Comparative advertising has to be factual - so EVERYTHING depends on the details of the ad (and the litigious nature or otherwise of the company in question).
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  3. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

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    well I won't go into details.

    The is a picture of a box mark "Sh1T" . Beside this a caption basically saying "supplied by XXX".

    It's a little bit more nuanced than that but that is the gist.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
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  4. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    That sounds as if it is a bit too close. It certainly falls well outside of any comparative advertising standards - and you cannot claim to be a comedy programme. You are a competitor.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  5. fisicx

    fisicx It's Major Clanger! Staff Member

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    If XXX are feeling litigious then you could be in all sort of trouble. You have libeled their company and could be done for all sorts of punitive damages.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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  6. maxbrainer

    maxbrainer UKBF Contributor Full Member

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    Remember Paul Chambers and the "Twitter joke" trial back in 2010?......I am not comparing your "satirical" video to the frivolity of his trial but I wanted readers to make the connection that there are consequences for what could be considered a trivial "post" or in your case "video". Paul Chambers was vindicated but has had a tough time getting work after the trial and his business reputation has been besmirched. He was prosecuted under Section 127--Article 1 of the 2003 Communications Act which prohibits sending "by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character". He considered his Twitter post a joke and look what happened. You consider your Facebook video satire--Could what happened to Paul Chambers happen to you and your business from your satirical video? Only time can answer that question. Yes, Paul Chambers is a free man but look at the price he and his business reputation has paid. Do you think it is worth it? I would try a different angle.
     
    Posted: Dec 15, 2017 By: maxbrainer Member since: Nov 18, 2017
    #6
  7. smallclaimsassistance

    smallclaimsassistance UKBF Enthusiast Full Member - Verified Business

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    I think the way to answer your question, is to imagine you clicked on a website, and you found an advert by a business (competitor or not) which contained an identical ad, complete with the "****" reference, only the caption stated that it was supplied by your business.

    Do you think your reaction would be to laugh, see the humour, take the view that it was fair comment and let it go? If not, you have your answer.

    Dean

    (PS: I think the fact that you posted this question demonstrates that you already know this).
     
    Posted: Dec 19, 2017 By: smallclaimsassistance Member since: Jan 7, 2015
    #7
  8. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    This goes well beyond satire, and will simply come across as a cheap shot made by a company with nothing better to say.
     
    Posted: Dec 19, 2017 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
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  9. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Thanks for the input guys - much appreciated.

    i will put that ad on hold.

    BTW, the ad is a lot more subtle than I've described. I would describe it as "Private Eye" -style but I guess even they get sued.
     
    Posted: Dec 19, 2017 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
    #9
  10. AllUpHere

    AllUpHere UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Ian Hislop was quoted as having said that his job as Private eye's editor was basically 'talking to lawyers'.
     
    Posted: Dec 19, 2017 By: AllUpHere Member since: Jun 30, 2014
    #10
  11. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    Private Eye is a satirical magazine - you are a competitor and therefore totally different rules and laws apply.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  12. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

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    The company is not a competitor. We service / repair their components. Most trade customers (our main market) also find their products of risible quality. They've been knocking out sub-par components for years....I just thought poking a bit of fun at them with a funny Facebook post would be entertaining.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
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  13. Eldy70

    Eldy70 UKBF Newcomer Free Member

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    Part of the definition of libel is to ‘disparage’ someone ‘about their trade or business’. Private Eye scrapes from one libel case to the next with its court fees and fines paid by donors. Satire is an expensive thing to get involved with.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: Eldy70 Member since: Dec 18, 2017
    #13
  14. The Byre

    The Byre UKBF Ace Free Member

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    No doubt, they would tell us that they are perfectly capable of repairing and replacing their own components - so you are a competitor.
    Sadly, that is irrelevant.
    Even Private Eye (or any other satirical medium) cannot label a clearly named company as producing 'sh1t' or even imply that they are doing so. They can only state facts (first half of the magazine) or print a humorous article (second half) making broad fun of that company, but without clearly stating that the products are in any way inferior.

    A typical (legitimate) example (in Germany, but the laws are effectively the same as here) in which the comedian Otto Walkes made fun of the shamed insurance company Hamburg Mannheimer (they had not paid out on several claims and that had been mentioned in the papers). Their standard advertisement showed a man from the company walking through a housing area and the children and housewives waved to him and greeted him in a friendly manner. The voice-over said "Yes, everyone knows the man from the Hamburg Mannheimer!"

    Otto renamed the company Hamburg Mueleimer (dustbin) and had the children shouting 'Arschloch' (********). The voice over then became funny - but Otto Walkes was a famous comedian and he was commenting on a known story at the time and most importantly, he did NOT name the company.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
    #14
  15. columbo

    columbo UKBF Regular Free Member

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    Interesting and informative example Byre - thanks.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: columbo Member since: Jan 27, 2013
    #15
  16. Gecko001

    Gecko001 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    I think the OP is wrong in assuming that negative advertising works. It may get a laugh at the time, but the overall message that the audience is left with is of the firm that has nothing to say other than slag off their competitors.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: Gecko001 Member since: Apr 21, 2011
    #16
  17. billmccallum1957

    billmccallum1957 UKBF Ace Full Member

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    Unless the company is Rayner's, stay well away.
     
    Posted: Dec 20, 2017 By: billmccallum1957 Member since: Feb 11, 2016
    #17
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