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ASA Adjudication on MyCityDeal Ltd

MyCityDeal Ltd t/a Groupon UK

1 Liverpool Street
London
EC2M 7QD

Date:

1 February 2012

Media:

E-mail

Sector:

Leisure

Number of complaints:

2

Complaint Ref:

A11-175131

Ad

An ad for sportswear on a discount website, viewed on 19 October 2011, stated "One Pair of Weight Loss HOTPANTS™ for £19 from Zaggora (58% Off)", "Uses Celu-Lite™ technology Available in S, M, L and XL Can be worn alone or under clothes", "A tape measure, like a student's bank account, can occasionally tell you numbers you'd rather not know. Aim for a better balance with today's Groupon: £19 for one pair of weight loss HOTPANTS™ from Zaggora. Using Celu-Lite™ technology, these magnificently comfy HOTPANTS™ are designed to aid clients in their transformation into a smaller Russian doll self, in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle. The nifty shorts have been created to take advantage of the body's natural heat to increase the warmth around the thighs, which then boosts the level of perspiration to help maximise workouts. HOTPANTS™ are available in size small, medium, large and extra-large and are designed to be worn alone or under clothing as suitable attire for a workout, a walk, or an afternoon nap. The Specifics Uses Celu-Lite™ technology to help maximise workout". Small print included "Results may vary, should be undertaken with a controlled diet and healthy lifestyle." The ad included three images of women wearing the shorts whilst exercising.

Further down the page it stated "Reviews ...The Zaggora Hot Pants have been tried and tested by a few bloggers. Reviewers admitted to its comfort, how it is a useful accompaniment to a regular workout, and even saw some positive results". Two reviews from bloggers were shown.

Issue

1. Sweatz Sportz Ltd and a member of the public objected that the ad was misleading because they believed it implied that using the product would lead to weight loss.

2. The ASA challenged whether the reference to "Celu-Lite technology" misleadingly implied the product was capable of decreasing cellulite.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

Response

1. MyCityDeal Ltd t/a Groupon UK (Groupon) did not believe the ad was misleading. They said although the name "Weight Loss HOTPANTS" was used in the ad headline, the entire context of the ad would not mislead the average consumer as to what the garments could achieve. They said the product was presented as an exercise aid that would make the area around which it was worn warmer, thus increasing perspiration. They said the claims regarding weight loss did not appear in isolation and the ad did not imply the product would contribute to any weight loss. Groupon said the ad did not refer to permanent weight loss, and focused on subjective experience and possible results when the product was used in conjunction with exercise and a healthy diet. They believed the reviews shown were factual, presented personal experiences and did not make claims about the product.

2. Groupon said "Celu-Lite" was a trademarked term and that they realised it should not be used to imply an efficacy claim. They said the claim "Uses Celu-Lite™ technology to help maximise workout" was a factual claim regarding the term applied to the design of the product, and the ability to get more out of your work out. They said they deliberately used the word "maximise" as it was a subjective term.

Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted Groupon believed the ad did not imply that using the product would lead to weight loss. We also noted small print included the words "Results may vary, should be undertaken with a controlled diet and healthy lifestyle" and the ad did feature women wearing the product whilst exercising. We also noted that it was only the words "HOTPANTS" that were trademarked, and not "Weight Loss HOTPANTS™". We considered that the ad headline "Weight Loss HOTPANTS™" implied that the product itself was capable of causing weight loss. We did not consider the disclaimer "Results may vary, should be undertaken with a controlled diet and healthy lifestyle" was sufficient to qualify this implied claim, and noted that the ad did not clearly state that the product was not capable of causing weight loss. We also considered the claim "designed to aid clients in their transformation into a smaller Russian doll self, in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle" implied the product could partly contribute to weight loss. As we had not received evidence this was the case we concluded the ad was misleading.

2. Upheld

The ASA noted Groupon believed Celu-Lite was a trademarked term. However, we also noted that information from the Intellectual Property Office indicated that at the point the ad appeared the trademark had been abandoned. We considered that the use of the term implied that the product was capable of reducing cellulite, and noted we had not received any evidence that this was the case. We concluded that the claim was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 13.1, 13.4, and 13.12 (Weight control and slimming).

Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

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