This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from July and August and a summary of the key issues considered in those adjudications. July presented another five adjudications relating to kgbdeals.com, following five in June.  The ASA continues to warn this advertiser to ensure that their sales promotions deal fairly with consumers and clearly state all material information in their advertisements.

A recurring theme in August’s adjudications was the suitability of certain adverts for children or young adults.  The ASA issued various adjudications to confectionery companies relating to their online games featuring sweets, and whether these games encouraged poor nutritional habits in children.  Also of concern were adverts of a moderate sexual nature, and whether these were irresponsible given the risk that they would be seen by children.  It seems that the medium of the advert is a significant factor in these decisions, with an online video and a newspaper advert receiving contrasting adjudications.

CAP and BCAP have produced additional guidance for marketers in relation to use of the word “free” in marketing communications. Products and services can only be described as “free” if consumers are not required to pay for anything other than the “unavoidable” and “true” cost of responding. It also cannot be used in instances where the price of the item (which must be purchased to take advantage of the free offer), has been increased above its normal cost. As demonstrated in the adjudication relating to Virgin Media below, marketers can only describe a feature of a bundle or package as being free if the price of the package has not increased and if that feature has been recently added and is not intrinsic to the product or service being advertised. However, once that inclusion becomes the norm, it becomes part of the package and therefore not distinguishable as an additional benefit and therefore, not “free”.

COMPUTERS AND TELECOMS

  1. Everything Everywhere Ltd t/a Orange, 4 July 2012 (The ASA considered a mobile phone price plan claim for free handsets)
  1. Localphone Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA held that phone call prices should not be advertised as VAT-exclusive)
  1. Virgin Media Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA replaced its decision in respect of a telecoms package promotion)
  1. Truphone Ltd, 22 August 2012 (The ASA considered the interpretation of the term “truly global”)

FOOD & DRINK

  1. Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA considered whether the advertised calorie count of a bowl of cereal was misleading)
  1. Organix Brands Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA considered whether an advert for children’s food was irresponsible)
  1. Pernod Ricard UK Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA held that an advert did not imply that alcohol could enhance popularity)
  1. PepsiCo International Ltd, 1 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether a soft-drink advert encouraged harmful behaviour in children)
  1. Brothers Drinks Co Ltd, 8 August 2012 (The ASA held that a Facebook competition was administered unfairly)
  1. Leaf Italia SRL t/a Leaf Confectionery / Honey Monster Foods Ltd / Dunhills (Pontefract) plc, 22 August 2012 (The ASA decided whether online games featuring sweets encourage poor nutritional habits in children)
  1. Swizzels Matlow Ltd, 29 August 2012 (Another adjudication concerning an online game involving sweets, but this time with a contrasting result)
  1. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board t/a lovepork.co.uk, 29 August 2012 (An interesting adjudication on the true meaning of the Red Tractor label found on British pork)

TRAVEL & TOURISM

  1. Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd t/a Greater Anglia, 4 July 2012 (The ASA considered an advert comparing the cost of commuting by train with by car)
  1. Broadway Travel Service (Wimbledon) Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA investigated adverts featuring promotional prices for holidays)
  1. GSF Car Parts Ltd, 15 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether claims of “up to 70% off” were misleading)
  1. General Motors UK Ltd t/a Vauxhall, 22 August 2012 (The ASA decided whether an advert for a new hybrid electronic car was misleading)

HOUSEHOLD

  1. DSG Retail Ltd t/a Currys/PC World, 4 July 2012 (The ASA held that “better than half price” claims were not misleading)
  1. Philips Electronics UK Ltd, 1 August 2012 (The ASA reviewed several complaints in relation to the Philips Airfryer)
  1. The Scotts Company (UK) Ltd, 1 August 2012 (The ASA investigated whether claims relating to Miracle-Gro were misleading and could be substantiated)

OTHER

  1. kgb (UK) Ltd, 4/11/25 July 2012 (The ASA considered whether various claims relating to daily deals offered on the kgb website were misleading)
  1. Royal National Institute of Blind People, 4 July 2012 (The ASA considered whether a scheduling restriction should be imposed on an advert for the charity)
  1. Wonga.com Ltd, 4 July 2012 (The ASA investigated the exclusion of APRs from adverts for short term loans)
  1. Guthy-Renker UK Ltd, 18 July 2012 (The ASA considered advertised testimonials and endorsements for a blemish treatment)
  1. Agent Provocateur Ltd, 1 August 2012/ X-posed Gentleman’s Club, 8 August 2012 (Two interesting adjudications on whether adverts were unsuitable as they could be seen by children)
  1. Paddy Power Plc, 1 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether an advert joking about kidney donation was offensive)
  1. IMS Residential Ltd, 15 August 2012 (The ASA determined whether claims to be the “No.1 Letting Agent” were misleading and could be substantiated)
  1. A4e Ltd, 22 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether a claim to be a “social purpose company” was misleading)
  1. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 29 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether claims that a DVD was “free with” a newspaper were misleading)
  1. Odeon Cinemas Ltd, 29 August 2012 (The ASA considered whether an offer truly was “15% off” in light of a card-handling fee)

ADJUDICATIONS

COMPUTERS AND TELECOMS

1. Everything Everywhere Ltd t/a Orange, 4 July 2012 This adjudication concerned a website advert listing mobile phones upgrades available to existing customers. Text stated “iPhone 4S 16GB Black ... upgrade price: from FREE”.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the claim “from free” was misleading on the basis that they would have to switch to a more expensive (higher minimum term) price plan in order to receive the handset for free. The complaint was not upheld. The ASA considered that most consumers would be aware that an additional charge would be made for a handset when purchasing or upgrading a contract, dependent on the price plan.

The ASA also considered that consumers would interpret “from free” as not having to pay an additional charge for a handset on certain price plans. It noted that there was no such additional charge in connection with three price plans offered by the advertiser. The advertiser also submitted that consumers were shown a handset’s cost after selecting a price plan, at which point the consumer could either continue with the purchase or select another option. As the claim did not imply that the handset would necessarily be “free” on a consumer’s previous price plan, the ASA concluded that the claim was not misleading.

This decision provides another example of the importance of correctly utilising “from” in price claims. Although the ASA considered that the advertised product did not necessarily need to be available at the “from” price, in this case free, it did emphasise the fact that the claim did apply to at least some products.

2. Localphone Ltd, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a Google sponsored search result for the advertiser. Text stated “Call Peru for 0.8p/min ... Cheap Calls to Peru - Try a Free Test Call Today!”

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the advert was misleading because the advertised price did not include VAT. The complaint was upheld. Although the advertiser submitted that their competitors also advertised VAT-exclusive prices and that VAT-inclusive prices were displayed when consumers clicked through to their website, the ASA reiterated the relevant Code rule: VAT-exclusive prices may only be given if all consumers to whom a price claim is addressed do not pay VAT or can recover it. The ASA therefore concluded that quoting VAT-exclusive prices in the sponsored search results was misleading.

3. Virgin Media Ltd, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned press and TV adverts and a circular promoting a telecoms package. The adverts described various TV, phone and broadband bundles available at certain headline prices. The press advert and circular contained text and small print stating that Virgin line rental cost £13.90 per month. The TV advert, featuring Usain Bolt, contained a voice-over that stated “Virgin phone line required”.

Complaint / Decision

Eighteen complainants challenged whether the adverts were misleading because the Virgin phone line cost, although compulsory, had not been included in the headline prices. The ASA had published its decision on this advertisement in May. The complaints were still upheld, but the ASA altered the wording of the assessment and actions sections of its decision.

As some consumers would buy phone line rental as a separate standalone service (to receive incoming calls), the ASA considered that line rental had intrinsic value in its own right that some consumers would generally expect to pay for. The ASA therefore concluded that line rental was a non-optional, conditional service rather than a charge with no standalone value. As it did not constitute an inherent and inseparable part of the advertised bundled products, it did not need to be included in the overall price. However, the ASA considered that it was particularly important to state the cost of the line rental sufficiently prominently because it had some of the characteristics of a charge. The ASA held that none of the adverts clearly presented the line rental cost alongside the headline prices. As the adverts did not make the extent of the consumer commitment required to obtain the advertised bundles sufficiently clear, the ASA held that they were misleading in this respect.

In light of this adjudication’s potential impact on this industry sector, the ASA Chairman granted a three month grace period for the sector to bring their marketing communications in line with the decision. The period of grace ends at midnight on 4 October 2012. Advertisers must now ensure that any line rental costs are presented clearly alongside the most prominently stated bundle prices.

Three further adjudications concerned advertisements for its broadband and TV services. The ASA firstly considered that the claim “I want everyone to say bye-bye to buffering” would be interpreted as an objective claim that consumers would no longer experience buffering, not just as puffery or a statement of intent. The claim was therefore held to be misleading.

A second complaint concerned claims of average download durations. The ASA considered that Virgin had not provided sufficient evidence relating specifically to the download durations achieved by users, despite providing a link to an independent speed monitoring service’s website. The claims had also not been adequately qualified, as consumers were likely to interpret the average durations as being achievable at any time of day. Advertisers must provide appropriate substantiation for download speed claims that take into account all relevant factors affecting user speeds. Significant factors impacting the achievability of such claims, such as traffic management, must be prominently explained in the body of any advert.

In the third adjudication, eleven complainants challenged adverts for Virgin’s TiVo services on the grounds that they did not clearly state certain installation and monthly charges applied. The ASA highlighted that a package element must not be described as ‘free’ unless consumers were likely to regard it as an additional benefit (because it had recently been added to a package but without an associated price increase). The ASA also considered that failing to state the amount of the installation fee, despite making its existence clear, was misleading. However, even though the actual amount of the monthly charge was not included in the adverts and Clearcast was of the opinion that such amount should have been included in a footnote, the ASA considered that the adverts clearly stated the total monthly cost of the service (which included the monthly charge complained of). It therefore concluded that the advert was not likely to mislead on this point. 

In an adjudication relating to British Sky Broadcasting Ltd (Sky), Virgin challenged Sky’s use of “totally unlimited broadband” in adverts for broadband services. The ASA considered that a simple “unlimited” broadband claim implied that a service was free from provider-based limitations in relation to more than moderate speed or usage. Sky met the conditions to support this claim because they imposed no provider imposed limitations on their customers. The ASA had already adjudicated on a similar claim involving the phrase “Truly unlimited internet”, concluding at the time that “truly unlimited” went beyond a simple “unlimited” claim, implying no restrictions at all on a customer’s usage. The ASA did not consider that the average consumer would interpret “totally unlimited” to mean the broadband service was free from inherent network limitations. None of the adverts featured any speed claims, but in these cases advertisers would have to include qualifying information about the likely effect of inherent limitations on their ability to achieve advertised maximum speeds. As Sky did not impose any restrictions/exclusions at all on their “totally unlimited” customers, the adverts were not held to be misleading.

4. Truphone Ltd, 22 August 2012

This adjudication related to the Truphone website, which stated “The Tru SIM saves you money, wherever you are in the world, without changing the way you use your phone.”  Further text described the product as “the truly global SIM”.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the terms “truly global” and “wherever you are in the world” were misleading, given that the service was not available in some parts of the world.  The complaint was upheld.  Truphone submitted that, because there were 223 countries in which their services were available, equating to 98.76% of the population, they did provide a “truly global” service.  However, the ASA considered that, as this was an advert for a global mobile network, consumers would understand this as meaning the service could be used anywhere in the world, without limitation.  Because there were limitations to the service in some locations, a total of 19 including Somalia, North Korea, Burma and Eritrea, the claims “truly global” and “wherever you are in the world” were misleading.

FOOD & DRINK

5. Kellogg Marketing and Sales Company (UK) Ltd, 4 July 2012

A TV advert for Special K cereal featured a close-up image of milk being poured over a bowl of the cereal. The voice-over stated “… Like enjoying a delicious bowl of Special K at 114 calories…” On-screen text stated “114 Kcals and 0.6g fat per 30g serving. Enjoy as part of a healthy balanced diet & active lifestyle”.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the advert was misleading because they understood that the advertised “114 calories” did not include milk. The complaint was upheld. The advertiser submitted that describing the calorie content excluding milk was the most accurate way to do so, given that consumers might eat the cereal with a variety of alternatives to milk (as well as different types of milk). The advertiser also cited the Department of Health’s profiling scheme and traffic labelling instructions, in which their products were judged excluding milk. Clearcast had advised that the on-screen text qualified that the calorie amount was for a 30g serving, and the image of the cereal with milk only comprised a serving suggestion.

Although the ASA acknowledged that not all consumers would eat the cereal with milk, it considered that the advert prominently featured the cereal being eaten with milk. Consumers were therefore likely to interpret the calorie claim as being inclusive of milk. Although the on-screen text referred to a 30g serving, the ASA did not consider that this clarified the exclusion of milk. The advert was therefore held to be misleading.

6. Organix Brands Ltd, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a TV advert for a brand of toddler food. A voiceover stated “Help your children grow up knowing what real food is. Completely new Organix Mighty Meals are the chunkiest toddler meals. Like proper grown-up food”. The advert showed a child feeding himself a spoonful of the food, which included a whole meatball.

Complaint / Decision

Three complainants, including a health visitor, challenged whether the advert was irresponsible because the meatball could be considered a choking hazard. The complaints were not upheld. The advertiser provided the ASA with an example safety assessment undertaken on the meatball meal during its development stage and responses from a dietician and consultant nutritionist. The ASA noted the tests undertaken on the product before its launch, in particular referencing the trialling of multiple recipes to ensure the correct texture and density of the food and the addition of safety notices to packaging stating that parents might want to cut up the meatballs before serving them. The ASA considered that all non-pureed food would present some risk of choking, but that the advertiser had taken adequate steps during product development to minimise such risk.

The ASA noted the NHS guidance on toddler food, which recommended that parents supervise mealtimes. As the advert showed the child’s mother to be present, the ASA concluded that appropriate measures had been taken to minimise the risk of potential choking and held that the advert was not irresponsible. The ASA also acknowledged that parents would be the most appropriate judges as regards feeding their child, suggesting that it will not intervene beyond determining what may be genuinely harmful to children.   

7. Pernod Ricard UK Ltd, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a poster advert for a whisky, Chivas Regal, that stated “ANNUAL BONUS: HAVING MORE FRIENDS THAN YOU HAD LAST YEAR”. The advert featured a bottle of the whisky with the text “CHIVAS. LIVE WITH CHIVALRY” underneath.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the advert implied that alcohol could enhance popularity. The ASA particularly noted the poster’s location as part of a series appearing side by side alongside a moving walkway on the Underground. The other posters were headlined with financial terms including ‘assets’, ‘trading’ and ‘dividends’, making up a campaign targeting the City of London financial community. The advertiser submitted that the series was intended to encourage people to think beyond financial success and to appreciate and value personal relationships. The ASA considered, given the positioning of the poster within a series, that its intended context would be clear to consumers. However, if the poster had appeared in isolation it might have implied that alcohol was linked to having more friends and therefore to increased popularity.

The ASA considered that the text “Annual bonus: having more friends than you had last year” encouraged consumers to change their perception of an “annual bonus”. Although the poster also pictured a bottle of whisky, the ASA concluded that it did not imply that alcohol could enhance popularity. The cumulative effect of the campaign was clearly the deciding factor in the ASA’s decision.

8. PepsiCo International Ltd, 1 August 2012

The advert in question was an in-game advert for Mountain Dew Energy drink featured in various gaming-apps, a video sharing and a social media website.  A teenager on a snowboard was seen sliding down an escalator; “surfing” along the track behind a moving underground train and then falling headfirst on to the ground.  The advert then cut to “white noise” and on-screen text appeared, stating “don’t Dew this at home”.  The advert finished with a group of men cheering and spraying themselves with the drink – one of the men’s arms was in a cast.

Complaint / Decision

The advert received seven complaints.  Four complainants challenged whether the advert was harmful because it showed a young adult engaging in dangerous behaviour which could encourage emulation.  Three complainants challenged whether the advert was irresponsible as it appeared in media likely to be seen by, or appeal to, children.  Both complaints were upheld.

In relation to the first complaint, the ASA concluded that the realistic nature of the advert, the dangerous and reckless nature of the stunt and the celebratory scene at the end meant the advert could encourage emulation of an unsafe practice and result in harm.  Pepsi’s argument that the underground scenes were not similar to the UK underground and therefore it would not be considered realistic or familiar was rejected by the ASA, who stated that it was likely to be familiar due to TV programmes and films.

On the question of the appeal of the advert to children, the ASA took into account the style and graphics of the apps in which the advert appeared, and the fact that it was not clear until the end of the advert whether the actors were teenagers or adults.  Pepsi stated that they had worked with their agencies to prevent children under the age of 16 from being able to view the advert, and that the advert was targeted at 16-24 year olds.  However, the ASA concluded that the advert was irresponsible, as it was seen in media that was likely to appeal to under-16s.

9. Brothers Drinks Co Ltd, 8 August 2012

This adjudication concerned a competition promoted by Brothers Cider offering the chance to win festival tickets, £1,000 cash, an iPhone and 20 cases of cider.  In order to win, contestants had to make a short video “which shows off your festival presenting skills to the max and post it on the Brothers Facebook Page by 21st May”.  The terms and conditions at the bottom of the page included the following text:  “The Top 10 videos with the highest number of votes will be short-listed and will each receive a pair of tickets for a festival as selected by Brothers and subject to availability.  The overall winner from the Top 10 videos will be selected by the Brothers Team based on originality and content and will win the titles of Brothers Festival Friend…”.  Thereafter the judging mechanism was changed.

Complaint / Decision

The complaint concerned whether the competition was fairly administered.  It was upheld by the ASA.  Brothers Cider stated that they had initially received a negative reaction to the concept of a public vote in the competition, and had therefore issued new terms and conditions removing the voting element of the competition on 22 March.  The competition itself commenced on 21 March, but Brothers Cider stated that no entries had been received at that point.  However, the news feature on the Brothers Cider website publicising the competition was not updated.  The only way of entering the competition was through Facebook, and Brothers Cider provided a screenshot showing when participants were directed to the Facebook page, they were told that by uploading their entry they were agreeing to the competition’s terms and conditions, which were available by clicking on the link provided.  However, the ASA determined that it was not clear that the terms and conditions had changed, and that participants who had read the original version of the terms would not know that there was a reason to click on the link and re-read them.

On 28 May, the Brothers Cider Facebook page also stated “We need some help choosing who our BFF [Brothers Festival Friend] should be … who do you think deserves to claim the title?”.  The ASA held that it was reasonable for the public to infer that their responses would have an influence on the selection of the winner, and also that it was unlikely that the judges’ decision had not been affected by the public response.  The ASA therefore concluded that the terms and conditions had not been properly followed in determining the winner.  The competition had not been administered fairly, and it therefore breached the Code.

10. Leaf Italia SRL t/a Leaf Confectionery / Honey Monster Foods Ltd / Dunhills (Pontefract) plc, 22 August 2012

These three adjudications related to games featured on websites for the confectionery Chewits and Haribo and the cereal Sugar Puffs.  Although featured on different websites and by different brands, the common objective of the games was to navigate your character through the game and make them eat or collect the sweets or cereal, as appropriate.

Complaint / Decision

The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) objected that the games encouraged excessive consumption of the products and poor nutritional habits in children.  The complaints were not upheld.  The Chewits game only required the user to collect nine different flavoured Chewits, which was less that the number of Chewits in a standard packet.  The character also had to collect items of sports equipment and pieces of fruit as part of the game.  The ASA considered that the consumption of Chewits was represented in an abstract way, involving chewing on Great British landmarks to release the Chewits, and also took into account information on the website about how to enjoy the product responsibly.  The Sugar Puffs game represented the consumption of Sugar Puffs in an abstract way, namely running through a maze trying to avoid wasps.  The ASA determined that this meant players would be unlikely to associate the Honey Monster’s consumption of the product with their own.  The ASA also considered that the presentation of the “consumption” of sweets in the Haribo game was abstract (involving a cartoon bear driving a car through the countryside), and that it was unlikely that children playing the game would be encouraged to imitate this.  There were also no leader boards or levels in the game, which the ASA concluded meant there was little incentive to play the game again.  Accordingly, none of the adverts condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of the products or poor nutritional habits.

11. Swizzels Matlow Ltd, 29 August 2012

In a similar vein to the adjudication above, this decision related to a website for confectionery manufacturer Swizzels Matlow, which contained a virtual “Swizzels Town” featuring different locations representing various products.  The content included games, photographs and videos.

Complaint / Decision

The Children’s Food Campaign (Sustain) objected that (i) the website encouraged poor nutritional habits in children; and (ii) the website was irresponsible because it used a licensed character (namely Scooby Doo) to promote sweets to children.  In contrast to the adjudication above, these complaints were upheld, although the former only in part.

The ASA considered that the majority of the content in Swizzels Town did not encourage an increase in the consumption of sweets or poor nutritional habits.  Although sweets obviously featured heavily on the website, the ASA held that there was no encouragement for children to eat more sweets.  However, the only exception to this finding was the game “Cola Capers”, featured in the cola bottle section of the website.  Over three levels, the game’s character had the opportunity to collect almost one hundred cola bottle sweets, whilst avoiding being caught by the “angry parents”, which would result in them losing a life.  The ASA concluded that the game encouraged young children to eat a large number of sweets and keep this secret from their parents.  This aspect of the website therefore encouraged poor nutritional habits and an unhealthy lifestyle in children.  The advert therefore breached the Code, although only due to this section of the website.  The underlying objective of these online games, and just how many sweets the player is expected to eat/collect are seemingly crucial factors to consider in ensuring the games are compliant with the Code.

The website also contained a Scooby Doo section containing images of Scooby Doo branded sweets, and a “find hidden sweets” game.  The ASA concluded that this section of the website was aimed at primary school children and in breach of the rule prohibiting the use of licensed characters to advertise food that was not fresh fruit or vegetables.

12. Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board t/a lovepork.co.uk, 29 August 2012

This adjudication concerned three adverts for the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (ADHB):  a poster, a Facebook advert and a national press advert.  Text featured on the adverts included:  “PORK NOT PORKIES.  RED TRACTOR PORK IS HIGH WELFARE PORK.  MAKE THE PORK PROMISE AT [XXX]”, and “GRILL IT BEFORE YOU BUY IT.  RED TRACTOR PORK IS HIGH WELFARE PORK.  MAKE THE PORK PROMISE AT [XXX].COM/LOVEPROK.UK”.

Complaint / Decision

The ASA received 207 complaints, mainly from Compassion in World Farming and its supporters, challenging whether the claim “RED TRACTOR PORK IS HIGH WELFARE PORK” was misleading and could be substantiated.  The complaints were upheld.  AHDB explained in its response that Red Tractor Pork was high welfare compared to pork from other EU exporting countries, and that it was prohibited from making a direct comparison with imported pork under EU legislation.  The ASA considered that it was not clear that the claim was a comparison with imported pork, rather than a claim about the general level of pig welfare in the UK.  The ASA determined that the claim implied that there were no concerns about the welfare of pigs in the UK, and it was therefore misleading.

TRAVEL & TOURISM

13. Abellio Greater Anglia Ltd t/a Greater Anglia, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned website, TV, radio and circular adverts for commuting by train. The adverts compared the cost per mile of commuting by train and by car, stating “Car 56p per mile Train 21p per mile”. They also contained various claims as to the amounts that could be saved per year if commuting by train, based on an average annual commute of 12,000 miles in an 1800cc petrol car.

Complaint / Decision

Seven complainants challenged whether the comparison was misleading and unfair on several grounds, including (i) 12,000 miles was not a typical distance for commuting, (ii) it did not include the costs of travelling to and parking at stations, (iii) it was based on the cost of a new car and (iv) it included fixed costs such as insurance and exaggerated the costs of items such as servicing.  

Although the ASA acknowledged that it was impossible to ascertain the precise cost per mile for individual commuters, it considered that consumers would expect the claims made to be based on figures representative of typical commuting costs for each mode of transport. The ASA upheld the complaints in relation to 12,000 miles misrepresenting a typical annual commute distance and the failure to include general fixed costs in the calculations. The advertiser had not provided any research data supporting the rationale for the 12,000 figure, with the mileage also being based on total mileage rather than that specifically for commuting. The ASA therefore concluded that the comparison had not been made on a like-for-like basis, and comparing the cost of commuting by train with the cost of using a car more generally was misleading. The ASA also considered that consumers would expect the comparison to factor in the financial outlay incurred when using a particular mode of transport for commuting – for example, depreciation in relation to car travel. As the advertiser had not provided sufficient evidence to demonstrate that such costs had been taken into account, the ASA held that the comparison was unfair and likely to mislead.

The other complaints (relating to additional costs of travel and the basis of the comparison on the cost of a new car) were not upheld. As additional costs such as parking would vary between individuals, the ASA considered that it was reasonable and not misleading to exclude such variable additional costs from the comparison. The comparison was based on the average costs associated with a car purchased from new and driven for a period of three years, which the ASA considered reasonable in this context. It further noted that the advert clearly stated the car engine size and distance on which the calculation was based, therefore concluding that the advert was not likely to mislead in this respect.

14. Broadway Travel Service (Wimbledon) Ltd, 4 July 2012

Two adjudications relating to this advertiser concerned website adverts for two holidays.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether one advert’s price claim was misleading, having been told that the holiday in question was not available at the advertised price and offered it for £100 more. Another complainant challenged whether the other advert was misleading on the basis that they were also unable to purchase the holiday in question for the advertised price. Both complaints were upheld.

Where an advertised price was not identified as a “from” price, the ASA considered that consumers would expect availability at the prices advertised. The ASA also noted that such “from” prices should be stated prominently; in this case, displaying the price at the bottom at the web page was insufficient. Despite prices normally being updated and checked every two hours, there would still be times when the advertised prices were not available to consumers. In such circumstances, the ASA considered that the advert should have made clear that the prices advertised were extremely limited or could be withdrawn at any time.

As the advertiser had also failed to provide sufficient evidence demonstrating availability or substantiating price claims at the time the adverts were aired, the ASA concluded that both adverts were misleading.

It is becoming clear that any fluctuations in the availability of advertised prices will usually oblige advertisers to state in their adverts that offers are limited or may be withdrawn at any time. The ASA will require definitive evidence of availability if such a caveat is not included. Advertisers should also take care to ensure that any “from” prices are displayed prominently – for example, in an advert’s headline.

15. GSF Car Parts Ltd, 15 August 2012

A radio advert for a car parts company stated “At GSF we can’t help you fit a car part, but we can help you nail it.  We stock thousands of quality parts for all makes of cars …You don’t even have to be trade to save, we’re open to the public with in many cases up to 70% off dealer prices”.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the statement “up to 70% off dealer prices” was misleading, as the advertiser did not sell the same branded products that dealers sold.  The complaint was upheld.  The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim “…in many cases, up to 70% off dealer prices” to mean that GSF could offer a wide range of products that were cheaper than main dealers, and that a proportion of these products would be 70% cheaper.  The comparison did not have to be based on identical branded products.  Consumers would, however, expect that the products were of an equivalent level of quality.

GSF said that they sold products with a range of price and quality levels, including lower “aftermarket” quality parts, own brand parts and remanufactured parts, in addition to the higher quality Original Equipment Spares (OES) which were governed by EU Regulations.  GSF had a price comparison tool that compared the prices of their products to those of the main dealers.  However, the ASA found that it was likely that this price comparison tool had compared a number of GSF’s aftermarket quality parts with main dealer OES parts, which would differ in quality, rather than comparing like for like products.  For these reasons, the advert was deemed likely to mislead.

16. General Motors UK Ltd t/a Vauxhall, 22 August 2012

This adjudication related to a TV advert for an electronic vehicle.  The advert showed the vehicle being plugged into an electricity source and then driving quietly.  On-screen text stated “Ampera, up to 360 mile range”.

Complaint / Decision

Three complaints challenged whether the advert was misleading as it suggested that the vehicle could travel 360 miles using electricity alone.  The complaints were upheld.  The vehicle was a new type of electronic vehicle which contained an internal combustion engine which acted as an on board generator once the battery was drained, generating electricity from the petrol in its fuel tank.  Although the advert did refer to the car’s “additional power source”, the ASA held that this was ambiguous.  The average viewer would not necessarily understand what this additional power source was, and would not realise that the car was sometimes being powered by electricity generated from a petrol engine.  Given that this was a new type of hybrid car, and an innovative product, the ASA determined that the advert needed explicitly to state that the car had a petrol engine.  Because it failed to explain clearly how the vehicle worked in its alternative mode, the advert was misleading.

HOUSEHOLD

17. DSG Retail Ltd t/a Currys/PC World, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a TV advert for a camera, advertised as “better than half price”. On-screen text stated “£45: Better than half price” and “£99 from 21/9 - 13/10/11”.

Complaint / Decision

A competitor challenged whether the “better than half price” claims were misleading on the basis that they understood the camera’s RRP was £59.99, and its typical high street price £49. The complaint was not upheld. The advertiser supplied information as to the price at which various other retailers had sold the product, including Argos (£74.99) and Jessops (£99.95), approximately during the time frame referenced in the advert. The ASA considered that this constituted sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the “better than half price” claim was based on a previous price similar to those at which the product was generally sold. It therefore concluded that the price claim was not misleading in this respect. 

18. Philips Electronics UK Ltd, 1 August 2012

This adjudication concerned three adverts for the Philips Airfryer:  a leaflet obtained at a trade show, an advert in the Argos catalogue and a TV advert showing chips being prepared and served.

Complaint / Decision

Seven issues were investigated.  Issues (i)-(vi) were challenged by Groupe SEB UK Ltd, and issue (vii) was raised by four members of the public.

  1. “Best tasting chips, without the oil” – Upheld

The ASA determined that consumers would understand this claim to be a comparative taste claim against the other methods of traditionally home-cooking chips.  However, taste tests conducted in Belgium and France were not wholly convincing on this point.  It was also understood that half a tablespoon of oil was in fact required for optimum results when using fresh chips.  The ASA concluded that the information about whether or not oil was required was unclear, and the claim was therefore ambiguous and misleading.

  1. “The star shaped element provides optimal air circulation for perfect, healthy cooking without the need for oil – Not upheld

The ASA considered that, although half a teaspoon of oil was recommended for taste when cooking fresh chips, the majority of foods did not require any additional oil.  The claim was therefore substantiated and not misleading.

  1. “Two thirds of consumers prefer crispy chips from the Philips Airfryer – Upheld

This claim was based on blind taste tests carried out against the Tefal Actifry in France, and a conventional deep fryer in Belgium.  Philips stated that a statistically significant number of tasters preferred the crispiness of chips prepared in the Airfryer compared to the other methods.  However, the ASA took issue with the fact that the claim was in the section of the adverted entitled “taste”, as this implied that the consumers referred to had an overall preference, and/or a preference of taste, for chips cooked in the Airfryer, and not just to the crispiness of those chips.  The claim was therefore misleading.

  1. “Health”.  Followed by a list of fat percentage content in fresh chips cooked with different appliances – Upheld

Philips had commissioned a testing institute to carry out a report, which formed the basis of this claim.  However, the ASA found that in conducting the tests, the amount of oil that was added in cooking did not clearly correspond with the instructions for the competitor’s product.  The amount of oil used was therefore not directly comparative and the fat content comparison could not be deemed fair.  The claim was therefore misleading.

  1. “63% of Belgian consumers prefer crispy chips from the Philips Airfryer to those cooked with a standard fryer!” – Upheld for the same reasons as (iii), above.
  1. “Time – Preparation time for fresh chips”, and comparisons between the Airfryer and other cooking methods in the table shown under that heading, specifically the “other leading competitor” – Upheld

The ASA considered that in order to make a direct comparison against specific cooking times across a range of products, Philips needed to demonstrate that it had tested the cooking time for the exact same quantity and size of chips across each product.  Instead, Philips had taken the information from the products’ own instruction manuals, which set out cooking times in bands (i.e. 16-18 minutes for between 300 and 800 g of chips) rather than exact amounts, and the size of chip this was based on varied.  The claim was therefore misleading.

  1. Voice-over claims stating “Just with air” and “Just add air”, when on-screen text stated, “For fresh chips add ½ tablespoon of oil” – Upheld

The ASA considered that the advert was not sufficiently clear as to whether it was fresh or frozen chips that were featured, and this was a key factor in relation to whether or not oil was required.  There even appeared to be some confusion between Clearcast and the advertiser as to which type of chips was being made in the advert.  If viewers understood the advert to be about fresh chips, it was confusing as to whether or not oil was required.  If they viewed it as a method of cooking frozen chips, this was misleading as although no additional oil was required, frozen chips are already pre-cooked in oil.  The claims were therefore ambiguous and misleading.

19. The Scotts Company (UK) Ltd, 1 August 2012

The website “lovethegarden.com” stated “Miracle-Gro Organic Choice All Purpose Peat Free Compost … independent trails [sic] prove that Miracle-Gro Organic Choice Compost grows plants bigger than leading peat free products!”

Complaint / Decision

The complainant challenged whether this claim was misleading and could be substantiated.  The complaint was upheld.  Scotts submitted that this claim was based on two independent trials conducted in 2009, and supported by three trials they had undertaken themselves.  However, the ASA said that the in-house trials could not be taken into account as evidence as the claim specifically referred to “independent trials”.  The advert also stated that the product was “proven to grow stronger healthier plants, fruits and vegetables”.  The ASA determined that consumers would understand from this that the product had been tested on a range of fruits, vegetables and other plants.  However, the independent trials were limited solely to tomatoes and petunias – this meant the advert was misleading.

The ASA was also not convinced that sufficient “leading peat free products” had been included in the independent trials for the advert to contain such a statement.  Whether “leading” was interpreted as “best performing” or “best selling” led to the same result – it could not be demonstrated that all best performing or all best selling peat-free composts had been compared, and therefore the claim could not be substantiated.

OTHER

20. kgb (UK) Ltd, 4/11/25 July 2012

Five adjudications concerned website adverts for various products: a two-night B&B break, hair extensions, a kite surfing course and two two-night hotel breaks. Each advert contained text in the general format “£… for [product] worth £… - save …%”. 

Complaint / Decision

The complainant in respect of the two night B&B break challenged whether the claim “worth £…” was misleading and could be substantiated. The complaint was upheld. The advertiser submitted that the hotel had reduced its prices since the offer had been agreed due to a downturn in business. However, although the hotel stated that the offer had been agreed on 30 September 2011, the complainant had purchased the offer on 26 August 2011. The ASA had not received any evidence showing the basis for the savings claim. As most consumers would interpret the “worth” price as the maximum price for the two night stay and the advertiser had failed to demonstrate that was the case, the claim was held to be misleading.

One complainant challenged the availability of the first two-night hotel break. Although the availability for the break to be taken over a weekend was sold out, there was still availability for a number of dates throughout the remainder of the offer period. On this basis, the ASA considered that the advertiser had reasonably estimated demand for the promotion and was capable of meeting it. The promotion did not therefore breach the Code. The local Trading Standards Department challenged the savings claims in relation to the second two-night hotel break. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Pricing Practices Guide states that traders should not compare their prices with an amount described only as “worth” or “value”, and the Code states that marketers should take this guide into account when making price statements. The ASA considered that consumers would understand the claims as to the value of the break to mean the price that the break was normally sold at. As the advertiser was unable to provide any sales invoices or further documentary evidence to support this, the ASA concluded that the claims were unsubstantiated and misleading.

The fourth complaint concerned the promotion of micro ring hair extensions. The actual offer was for micro ring hair weft extensions, which was a different hair extension technique. As the advert had failed to make clear which technique was offered, it was held to be misleading.

The final adjudication related to the failure to make clear significant conditions of the kite surfing course offer. The promotion had failed to make clear that the offer was only redeemable on weekdays or consumers would need to pay an additional charge of £100 per person. Furthermore, the closing date had changed from 31 August to 1 August without any efforts to ensure that consumers were not disadvantaged. Although the advertiser submitted that the merchant had not informed them of any significant offer conditions, there was no contract between the two parties. The ASA concluded that the promotion breached the Code.

21. Royal National Institute of Blind People, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a TV advert for the charity RNIB, seen on various children’s TV channels at 14:00 and between 18:30 and 18:45. It featured a story of a child who lost her sight, mainly filmed from the child’s point of view and “based on a true story”. At one point the child was heard calling for her mother in some distress, seeing only vague shapes and hearing chaotic noises. A voice-over stated that she could no longer do the things she loved as she was going blind, and then went on to request donations of £3 per month whilst then showing her happily listening to a talking book, trampolining, playing with her friends and walking in the park with her mother.

Complaint / Decision

Four complainants challenged whether the advert was unsuitable for broadcast at times when it could be viewed by young children. Three complainants stated that their children (4-8 years old) had been distressed by the advert. The complaints were not upheld. The ASA noted that the advert’s intended target audience was parents, not their children. The advertiser submitted that the advert was intended to be emotive to encourage donation, but did not believe it would seriously distress younger children. Clearcast had cleared the advert with no timing restriction, being of the opinion that the voice-over was very soothing, with an even tone, and that the child’s cries for her mother were requests for reassurance that sounded measured rather than terrified.

The ASA considered that although child sight loss was in itself a sensitive issue, the advert did not contain any material likely to distress children who viewed it. The ASA particularly noted that any reported distress should be taken very seriously, but also that it was not always possible to avoid causing upset to more sensitive children. The ASA therefore concluded that the advert did not warrant a scheduling restriction in this case.

22. Wonga.com Ltd, 4 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a TV advert for a short term loan company. The advert featured three puppets portrayed as elderly office employees. The puppets made statements such as “We make decisions instantly”, “Money could be in your account in 15 minutes” and “We’re fast here”. Text at the bottom of the screen stated “18+. Subject to status. T&Cs apply”.

Complaint / Decision

Three complainants challenged whether the advert was misleading because it did not state an Annual Percentage Rate of interest (APR).  The ASA also received 79 further complaints on the same point that did not specifically identify the Wonga.com adverts they related to. The complaints were not upheld.

Clearcast believed that the advert did not directly promote the advertiser’s loans, only focusing on various features of its functionality, while the advertiser further submitted that products were only described in broad terms. The ASA also considered that the advert’s predominant message was that viewers could obtain a loan extremely quickly by visiting the advertiser’s website. It particularly noted that the advert began and ended with a reference to the website address, contained a statement that the process was ‘all done online’ and referred to the potential inconvenience of applying for a loan by telephone. The ASA concluded that, taking into account the on-screen text, it was clear that viewers would have to visit the website for more information and to apply.

Under regulation 6(1)(b) of the Consumer Credit (Advertisements) Regulations 2010 (CCARs), an advert must state the representative APR if it includes an incentive to apply for credit. Although “incentive” is not defined, Office of Fair Trading (OFT) guidance relating to the predecessor legislation stated that references to the speed at which loans could be obtained might be an incentive triggering the requirement for inclusion of a representative APR. However, the OFT also referred to the recent decision of the First-tier Tribunal (Consumer Credit) in Log Book Loans v OFT, under which the Tribunal had concluded that references to e.g. ‘fast loans’ as part of a general description of the basic product offered did not constitute an incentive to apply for credit (although ‘incentive’ was likely to include an offer of a special gift, holiday or stated discount). Although the decision of the Tribunal is not binding on the ASA, it considered it helpful; furthermore, the OFT was still considering the extent that references to ‘speed’ might constitute an ‘incentive’ in light of the Tribunal decision. The ASA therefore concluded that the various statements relating to speed throughout the advert constituted a description of the inherent features of the service on offer rather than an incentive to apply for credit under regulation 6(1)(b) of the CCARs.

The APR and actual interest rate were provided clearly on the website. However, the ASA went on to consider whether the advert was misleading for failing to state a representative APR – particularly in light of the advertiser charging a high rate of interest and the potential vulnerability of viewers seeking a fast short term loan. It noted that the representative APR was not necessarily a helpful indication of the cost of short term credit products. The advert did not include specific information on the terms of credit availability, instead directing viewers to a website that clearly presented all information on the cost of borrowing. Although the ASA considered it desirable for adverts for short term high cost credit products to clearly alert viewers as to the product offered (e.g. by stating “X is a high interest, short-term loan provider”), it concluded that the advert was unlikely to mislead viewers on the basis of omitting material information regarding the rate of interest.

23. Guthy-Renker UK Ltd, 18 July 2012

This adjudication concerned a teleshopping advert and a website for a blemish treatment. The teleshopping advert featured an American singer, Katy Perry, who endorsed the product. The website included testimonials from several other American celebrities.

Complaint / Decision

One complainant challenged whether the testimonials and endorsements were misleading because she believed they related to use of the American formulation of the treatment, which contained an active ingredient not present in the UK formulation. The ASA’s decision was due to have been published on 7 December 2011, but was subject to an independent review. Following the review, the decision to uphold the complaint remained the same.

The ASA noted a letter submitted by the advertiser which stated that the celebrities had been sent the UK formulations of various products, and that there were talent agreements in place setting out the celebrities’ agreement to give an endorsement of the product that reflected their experiences of using it and the benefits of such use in their day to day lives. The agreements also stated that any such statement would be factually accurate and would represent the celebrity’s honest opinions, findings, beliefs or experiences. The ASA was not challenging the veracity of the testimonials, but whether they were relevant to the products available to the UK audience.

One testimonial provided by one of the celebrities referred to using the treatment in the past tense only, but it also stated that her skin was now “smooth, even glowing” as a result of using the product. The signed statement from that celebrity indicated that she had used the UK formulation for “several weeks during 2009”. The ASA, however, considered that the advert (as viewed in August 2011) was likely to be interpreted as suggesting the celebrity’s skin continued to benefit from using the product. The ASA concluded that the overall impression given by the adverts was that the celebrities were continued and regular users of the treatment.

The same endorsement claims were included on the US website. According to the signed statements, relating to only five of the seven testimonials, the celebrities had each used the UK formulation for a period of only several weeks between one and three years before the adverts were aired. As the adverts were targeted at a UK audience and that the UK product had a different active ingredient to the US version, the ASA held that, in that context, the claims of continued use had not been substantiated. The adverts were therefore held to be misleading.

24. Agent Provocateur Ltd, 1 August 2012 / X-posed Gentleman’s Club, 8 August 2012

These two adjudications present an interesting comparison into the issue of adverts unsuitable for children appearing in domains in which children could access them.  The first adjudication related to a video on the Agent Provocateur website showing a woman alone in her home and dressed in a nightgown.  The woman answered the telephone twice; first nobody spoke, the second time there was the sound of laughter at the other end.  The woman was shown looking anxiously out of her window, before the house was invaded by women wearing revealing lingerie.  The women dragged the other woman through the house and adopted a variety of poses, some sexual.  The woman was seen looking distressed and several times the position of her nightgown revealed her breasts.  Eventually the woman emerged wearing similar revealing lingerie to the group.

The second advert in question was a regional press advert for X-posed Gentleman’s Club.  The advert showed a woman wearing lingerie and stockings with one knee on a chair and her hand on her hip.  Text stated “Reading’s only adult Caberet [sic]/Gentlemen’s [sic] club Males, females, couples welcome *Dancers Required *Stage shows & Private fully nude dances available.”

Complaint / Decision

One complainant objected to the Agent Provocateur advert as it featured on a website that could be seen by children as it had no age restriction.  One complaint was also received for the X-posed advert, challenging whether the advert was (i) offensive; and (ii) unsuitable to appear in a publication which children might see.

The complaint in relation to the Agent Provocateur advert was upheld.  Agent Provocateur failed to respond to the complaint, which was, the ASA stated, itself a breach of the CAP Code.  In reaching its decision, the ASA took into account the fact that the style, colour and graphics of the website and the products available showed it was designed to appeal to adults rather than children.  However, the video contained “erotic and fetish type scenes” of a sexually graphic and distressing nature, which could be considered unsuitable for children.  The ASA concluded that the video was unsuitable for display on an openly-accessible website where it was at risk of being viewed by children, particularly in light of the fact that it is so easy to share an link to a website.  The advert must not appear again unless suitable precautions are taken to prevent it being seen by children.

In contrast, the X-posed complaint was not upheld, on both grounds.  Firstly, the ASA considered the image to be only mildly provocative and not sexually explicit.  Although it was clearly an adult service that was being advertised, the ASA concluded that the content was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to readers.  On the second ground, the ASA noted that the advert was placed towards the back of a regional newspaper in the weekend entertainment section, which was unlikely to attract the attention of children.  In light of the relatively mild nature of the advert and the fact that children were unlikely to see it, the advert was not unsuitable to appear in the publication.

25. Paddy Power Plc, 1 August 2012

A radio advert for Paddy Power betting service stated “Jack Cooper wrote on the Paddy Power Facebook wall ‘I’ll give you anything for a decent offer Paddy!’  We hear you Jack!  Anything eh?  Well just chuck us a kidney and in return we’ll give you … this beauty for the golf.  Back any player to win The Masters and if Tiger Woods wins, you get your money back!  And, because there’s another kidney where that came from, here’s another cracker:  We’re playing six places on each-way bets!  Bet online or on your Paddy Power mobile app and good luck with the dialysis.  We hear you Jack Cooper!”

Complaint / Decision

26 members of the public and the Kidney Wales Foundation objected to the advert on the grounds that it was offensive and likely to cause distress, in particular to kidney dialysis patients, transplant patients and their loved ones.  The complaint was not upheld.  The ASA considered that the concept of exchanging a kidney for something desirable would be understood, in the context of this advert, as an extension of the notion of someone giving their “right arm” for something, and highlighted that the character at the centre of the advert was a fictional one.  The ASA held that most listeners would understand this was a fictional, slightly ridiculous situation which was not representative of real life, and it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.  The advert was not in breach of the BCAP Code.

26. IMS Residential Ltd, 15 August 2012

The website “imslettings.co.uk” contained claims including “Derby’s No.1 Letting Agent (7 years running).  National Award Winning Letting Agent”, “Derby’s No.1 Award Winning Agent”, and “Derby’s No.1 Letting Agent”.

Complaint / Decision

The complainant challenged whether the claims “Derby’s No.1 Letting Agent (7 years running).  National Award Winning Letting Agent” were misleading and could be substantiated.  The complaint was upheld.  IMS Residential (IMS) submitted various pieces of information that they believed demonstrated that they were the number one letting agent in Derby, including information they claimed showed they had bought the most advertising space in the local paper, carried out the most credit check applications, had the most properties listed online, the most company cars and the highest number of letting boards on display in Derby.  IMS stated that these factors amounted to sufficient evidence to substantiate their claim.  However, the ASA was not convinced.

The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim to mean that IMS had successfully let the most properties in the area over a reasonable period of time.  The evidence provided was not indicative of how many properties IMS let in comparison to their competitors, even having the most number of properties listed online was not the same as demonstrating the highest number of successful lets.  As there was insufficient documentary evidence to substantiate the claim, the advert was held to be misleading.

27. A4e Ltd, 22 August 2012

The website “mya4e.com” contained text on the home page stating “A4e is a social purpose company with one sole aim.  To improve people’s lives around the world.  We do this by helping them find work, skills, direction – or whatever it is they need”.

Complaint / Decision

One complaint challenged whether the statement “A4e is a social purpose company” was likely to mislead customers as to the nature of their business.  The compliant was upheld.  A4e operated to generate a profit, and the ASA was concerned that most individuals would interpret the claim on the website to mean that A4e was a not-for-profit organisation.

28. Associated Newspapers Ltd, 29 August 2012

This adjudication concerned a TV and national press advert for a free commemorative DVD of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee with the Daily Mail newspaper.  The TV advert contained a voice-over stating, “Free with Saturday’s Daily Mail, the very best of the Jubilee on one spectacular DVD”.  On-screen text read “Collect tokens from Mail and Mail on Sunday.  Postage payable allow 56 days for delivery”.  The newspaper advert stated “FREE DVD Best of the Jubilee celebrations WITH SATURDAY’S Daily Mail”.

Complaint / Decision

44 complainants challenged whether the TV advert was misleading, as the footnote contradicted the voice-over claims that the DVD was free with Saturday’s edition of the Daily Mail.  Four complainants challenged whether the newspaper advert was misleading as it was not clear that it related to a token offer starting in Saturday’s Daily Mail.  The ASA upheld both complaints.  Although the voice-over stated the DVD was free “with” rather than “in” Saturday’s Daily Mail, the ASA did not consider that this was a sufficiently clear distinction.  In relation to the press advert, the ASA determined that consumers could have decided to purchase Saturday’s Daily Mail simply on the basis of that advert, without knowing they would have to collect tokens to get the DVD.  The adverts were both held to be misleading.

29. Odeon Cinemas Ltd, 29 August 2012

The website for the Odeon cinema chain stated “ODEON PREMIERE CLUB 15% ONLINE DISCOUNT … we are now giving ODEON Premiere Club members 15% off tickets booked online”.

Complaint / Decision

The complainant challenged whether the claim of a 15% saving was misleading as a ticket card handling fee of 75p was added to each ticket bought online.  The complaint was upheld.  The ASA considered that consumers would interpret the claim to mean that the 15% discount applied to the total cost of purchasing tickets.  Because the claim did not include the additional card handling fee, the advert was misleading.