Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
A TV ad and a national press ad for a free commemorative Jubilee DVD with the Daily Mail.
a. The TV ad featured a voice-over which stated, "Free with Saturdays [sic] Daily Mail, the very best of the Jubilee on one spectacular DVD. Relive the magic of four historic days, captured on film with the majesty they deserve. Together with a glorious souvenir booklet for you to treasure. Free Jubilee DVD offered only with Saturdays [sic] Mail." On-screen text stated "Concert footage not included. Collect tokens from Mail and Mail On Sunday. Postage payable allow 56 days for delivery".
b. The press ad stated "FREE DVD Best of the Jubilee celebrations WITH SATURDAY'S Daily Mail".
The ASA received 48 complaints:
1. forty-four complainants challenged whether the TV ad was misleading, because they believed the footnote contradicted the voice-over claiming that the DVD was free with Saturdays Daily Mail; and
2. four complainants challenged whether the press ad was misleading, because it was not clear that the promotion related to a token collect offer starting in Saturday's Daily Mail.
1. Associated Newspapers Ltd (AN) said they had followed a long-established script formula specific to token collect offers. They said the use of the wording "free with" rather than "free in", along with the inclusion of the word "offered" made it clear the DVD was not contained within the newspaper. They believed that because the on-screen text provided additional information about where to collect the tokens and postage details it added clarity to, rather than contradicting, the voice-over.
Clearcast said they were surprised the ad had attracted so many complaints, because the script followed a long-established formula for token collect offers, which was as described by AN and which rarely attracted complaints. They did not feel the qualifying text contradicted the free claim as the DVD was in fact free, and they were confident the ad was not misleading.
2. AN accepted one of their press ads had not stated that the offer required consumers to collect tokens, but they did not feel that alone was sufficient to mislead consumers, given the other ads which had subsequently appeared, all of which had stated the relevant condition. In particular, they pointed out that the front page of Saturday's edition of the Mail stated the condition.
The ASA noted the voice-over referred to the DVD being offered "with" the relevant edition of the Daily Mail, rather than "in" the Daily Mail. However, we considered that that was not a sufficiently clear distinction, particularly when the Saturday edition of the newspaper was referred to in isolation. We acknowledged the on-screen text provided further details of how the offer worked, but we considered that the qualifying text contradicted the claims in the voice-over and we concluded that the ad was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
We considered consumers could have seen the relevant press ad in isolation and decided to purchase Saturday's Daily Mail as a result, without being aware that they would be required to collect tokens in order to obtain the DVD. We therefore concluded the ad was misleading.
On this point, the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.
How to participate
How to participate, including significant conditions and costs, and other major factors reasonably likely to influence consumers' decision or understanding about the promotion (Significant conditions for promotions).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told AN to ensure that any future similar promotions made prominently clear that tokens must be collected.