ASA Ruling on sit-up Ltd
sit-up Ltd t/a
Bid TV & Price Drop TV
Unit 11 Acton Park Industrial Estate
9 January 2013
Number of complaints:
Two teleshopping presentations seen on Bid TV and Price Drop TV:
a. The first ad appeared on Bid TV and during the majority of the presentation on-screen text stated "66 Mini Plug Primrose ‘Husky’ Mixed Colours. Grows up to 15cm (6") GB Mainland £7.99 p&p per item now ... Dial 0904 XXX XXXX £1.53 per call from a BT landline".
b. The second ad appeared on Price Drop TV and during the majority of the presentation on-screen text stated "GT Precision Gents Black Dial Automatic/Quartz Movement Watch with 24ct Rose Gold Plated Bezel GB Mainland £7.99 p&p per item ...". Text at the bottom of the screen stated "Phones Locked" until the last three minutes, when it changed to "Dial 0904 XXX XXXX £1.53 per call from a BT landline".
The complainant challenged whether the text relating to postage and call costs was presented clearly.
sit-up Ltd (sit-up) said the call, postage and packaging details were clearly displayed. They changed over to widescreen earlier this year and therefore changed their format to the aspect ratio of 16:9, which was the standard format for widescreen TV. They believed that the complainant had viewed the ad in the old TV format of 4:3. They said they heavily promoted the change on-air and suggested customers switched to the "letterbox" or "cinema" viewing format on their remote control, or upgraded to a widescreen television. They said, over the last few months, they had been updating and reviewing their on-air graphics system to accommodate widescreen and other new on-screen developments, in order to adopt a more user-friendly graphics system for the consumer.
Text size related to the vertical height of the text measured in terms of the number of TV lines it occupied. In the absence of an accepted standard for measuring character size on character generators, the ASA determined the preferred minimum heights for each format by the number of physical TV lines.
The preferred minimum text height for the 4:3 format was 14 lines and between 16 and 30 lines for the 16:9 format. We sought advice from the Ofcom, who confirmed that the height of the postage and call costs in ads (a) and (b) were approximately eight lines and, having viewed the ad, considered that they were not clearly presented. Because postage and call costs were significant conditions likely to affect a viewer's transactional decision, we considered information relating to them needed to meet the preferred minimum height relevant to its format and be presented clearly. Because the postage and call costs were not presented clearly we concluded that they were misleading.
Ads (a) and (b) breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 and 3.2 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Qualification).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told sit-up to ensure that future TV ads met the preferred minimum heights for on-screen text and presented qualifications clearly.