A poster ad for PrettyLittleThing.com, seen on 1 August 2017, featured a full-length shot of a model wearing a leaf-print strapless dress and large green earrings. Large text located in the right-hand lower third of the ad stated “SHOP NEW IN FROM £8”. The text “£8” was stated in significantly larger font. Small text near the bottom of the ad stated “* DRESS SHOWN £35”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the featured dress was available for purchase for £8.
21 Three Clothing Company Ltd t/a PrettyLittleThing.com said their website included a section titled “NEW IN” which included products priced at £8. They said the claim “SHOP NEW IN FROM £8” was therefore accurate and encouraged consumers to shop in the ‘NEW IN’ section of their website rather than to shop for the dress featured in the ad. They said that the use of the word “FROM” clearly showed that the starting price of products in that section of the website was £8, which included the earrings the model was wearing in the ad. They further said that the price of the dress was stated in the ad, and the asterisk highlighted its price; they considered the use of the asterisk would be understood by those who viewed the ad and particularly their target market.
Although the ad featured a full-length shot of a model wearing a dress, earrings and shoes, the ASA, however, considered consumers would understand that the focus of the ad was the dress. We considered that because the claim “SHOP NEW IN FROM £8” appeared prominently, in large text in the lower part of the ad with the text “£8” in the largest font shown in the ad, consumers would understand that the featured dress was available for purchase for £8. However, we understood that the dress cost £35 and we therefore concluded that the claim was misleading.
While the ad stated “* DRESS SHOWN £35” we noted it appeared in very small text in the left-hand bottom corner of the ad and considered that consumers were unlikely to notice it. Notwithstanding that, we considered that even if some consumers had seen the qualification “* DRESS SHOWN £35” it contradicted, rather than clarified, the claim “SHOP NEW IN FROM £8”, because consumers would have understood that claim to mean that the dress was available for £8. We concluded that the ad therefore also breached the Code in that regard.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification), 3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication. and 3.22 3.22 Price claims such as "up to" and "from" must not exaggerate the availability or amount of benefits likely to be obtained by the consumer. (Prices).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told 21 Three Clothing Company Ltd t/a PrettyLittleThing.com to ensure that price statements reflected the price of garments featured in their ads. We also told them to ensure that qualifications did not contradict the claims they were intended to clarify.