Friends Provident has been criticised by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for sending out a mailshot that could be mistaken for medical test results.
The marketing material was sent to 10,000 people in a brown envelope that looked as if it contained test results or hospital medical records.
The envelope was marked “X-Ray film, please do not bend” and contained an X-ray photo of a pinned joint, together with details of income protection insurance.
The ASA concluded that the mailshot was likely to cause distress by masquerading as official medical records. The ASA concluded that the envelope should have stated clearly that it contained marketing material to avoid giving a misleading impression of its contents and causing distress to recipients.
Friends Provident has apologised, saying that the material was used in a pilot campaign and the company had not fully appreciated the impact it would have on people awaiting medical results.