The Dewsbury Press has been criticised by the advertising industry watchdog for running a misleading and unfair advert that claimed the independent weekly newspaper reached 42,000 homes every weekend.
The Advertising Standards Authority found that the Press could not substantiate the claim and ordered the paper not to run the advert in its current form again.
The ad said the part-free paper had a giveaway circulation of 40,536 plus paid-for sales of 1,462 – making it the ‘biggest newspaper in the district’with 38 per cent more copies than three of its rivals combined.
Johnston Press‘s Yorkshire weekly newspaper division, which publishes the rival Dewsbury Reporter, challenged the claim.
The Press then produced correspondence and bills from printers showing that the claim was correct and that according to ABC figures the next biggest paper in the area sold 40,653.
But the ASA ruled that only ABC figures and Verified Free Distribution (VFD) figures should be used when making circulation claims ‘because those figures are the accepted industry standard”.
The ASA said: ‘Because it was not based on ABC and VDF figures we concluded it was misleading.”
The authority also said the paper was wrong to compare its giveaway distribution figure with its rivals’ paid-for figure and that such a comparison was unfair.