ASA Adjudication on Greenfield Creations Ltd
Greenfield Creations Ltd
13 June 2012
Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated of which both were Upheld.
Claims on www.GreenfieldCreationsCoffins.co.uk, stated "The Greenfield Creations cardboard coffin is a strong, sturdy, but lightweight coffin which has been developed to meet the needs of those who require an environmentally friendly and biodegradable coffin. Over the last few years demand for 'greener', and more cost effective, funerals has increased dramatically". Further text stated "Cardboard coffins are load tested up to 23 stone".
Colourful Coffins challenged whether the claims:
1. "environmentally friendly and biodegradable coffin"; and
2. "Cardboard coffins are load tested up to 23 stone"
were misleading and could be substantiated.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
1. Greenfield Creations said they were willing to make changes to their advertising. They stated, however, they had not realised their product did not fall within the ASA's definition of "environmentally friendly". They said they considered their product consisted of the cardboard, glue and tape used to make the coffin. They said all those elements were biodegradable and sent specifications from their suppliers stating that was the case. They said the handles and liner for their coffins were "accessories" that were made from cotton or natural rope and therefore also biodegradable. On that basis, they considered that their coffin was biodegradable. They submitted general details about the company and the coffins as well as information from the manufacturers of the materials they used to make the cardboard coffin, liner, and handles. They also stated the only non-biodegradable accessories available were brass-effect handles and a lining that was used for cremations.
2. Greenfield Creations provided information and video footage regarding a load test on a cardboard coffin that took place at the National Funeral Exhibition in 2009 and 2011. They said the test was representative of four funeral directors shouldering a coffin and the test had been seen by a large number of funeral practitioners.
The ASA acknowledged Greenfield Creations were willing to amend the ad and noted their argument that their product should be defined only as the cardboard, glue and tape. However, we considered consumers would understand the claim to refer to the whole product, including all fixtures, such as handles and liner. We noted the specifications Greenfield Creations submitted in relation to the component materials, but considered the evidence was not adequate to support the "environmentally friendly" claim in relation to the full life cycle of the product, even for just the cardboard, glue and tape. We also noted we had not seen adequate evidence to demonstrate that the entire product was biodegradable. We therefore concluded that the claim "environmentally friendly and biodegradable coffin" had not been substantiated and the ad was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 11.1 and 11.4 (Environmental claims).
We noted the information provided by Greenfield Creations regarding a test they had conducted on their product during two exhibitions. The information consisted of photographs of the product being tested at the exhibitions and an invoice for 150 kg of gravel. We also noted, however, we had not seen any evidence that the product had, for example, been subject to any controlled independent tests and considered the substantiation submitted was not adequate to support the claim. We concluded that the claim "load tested up to 23 stone" had not been substantiated and the ad was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Greenfield Creations not to state or imply that their product was environmentally friendly, unless they held substantiation for the claim based on the full life cycle of the product. We also told them to ensure they held adequate evidence to support all objective claims in future advertising.