Macmillan Cancer Support: March 2020

Name and type of organisation: Macmillan Cancer Support (registered charity no. 261017)

Fundraising method: Television fundraising

Code themes examined: Misleading information 

Code breach? No

The complaint

Macmillan Cancer Support’s television advertisement contains statements about the support that it provides and asks viewers to make a donation. The complainant, who had previously complained to us on a related issue, provided us with comments from members of the public who find the statements to be untrue and misleading.

What happened?

The charity’s 'Right There With You' television advertisement makes the statement: “If you ever need us, we support you physically, financially and emotionally. Whatever cancer throws your way, we’re right there with you.” The complainant provided comments made by a number of individuals who were critical of the support the charity provides.

This complaint was very similar to a previous complaint they had made about this campaign. We investigated that complaint and found no breaches of the Code of Fundraising Practice (the code). That investigation focused on information on the charity’s website. The television advertisement was excluded from that investigation as it did not at the time contain a request for a donation, which meant it was not a fundraising communication.

The charity told us that a similar complaint about its television advertisement had been considered by the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA’s) Council. The ASA confirmed that it had received a complaint that the claims made by the charity in its television advertisement were untrue and, on that basis, misleading. It said the complaint was not upheld.

Our decision

As the lead regulator of television advertising, we gave significant weight to the ASA’s decision and agreed with its assessment of the charity’s television advertisement. We found that the television advertisement was not misleading.

The end frame, which contains the request for a donation, asks viewers to make a donation via the charity’s website. As outlined in our previous investigation, we found that information on the different types of support offered by the charity is clearly available on the website.




There are no actions for the charity.