A TV ad for ACHICA.com opened with a visual of a man who sat on one of several chairs, all positioned in a rural setting. On-screen text stated "I FOUND JUST what I wanted IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE". The voice-over then stated, "Great brands … anywhere you can get online."
The complainant, who had an internet connection, but believed the advertiser did not deliver to the Shetland Islands, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
ACHICA Ltd t/a ACHICA.com said that they did deliver to the Shetland Islands. However, some very large products were excluded from delivery to non-mainland UK addresses, but the vast majority of their products were available for delivery throughout the UK. They said from January to June, they had delivered over 1,300 orders to the Shetland Islands, however, some very large items, such as dining room tables which were not flat-packed, were not delivered because they required two delivery people. Other reasons for not delivering to the Shetland Islands were prohibitive carrier costs and access restrictions.
Clearcast said they considered the ad did not imply that products would be delivered to anywhere in the UK, but that items could be found on the ACHICA website and could be ordered from anywhere that an internet connection could be established. They reiterated ACHICA's assertion that they did deliver to the Shetland Islands but not very large products.
The ASA understood that certain large items would not be delivered to parts of the UK. However, the ad did not contain any qualification to manage consumer's expectations that certain products were unable to be delivered to remote parts of the UK. We considered the on-screen text "I FOUND JUST what I wanted IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE" along with the voice-over "Great brands … anywhere you can get online" gave consumers the impression that dependent on an internet connection, consumers could order online and that ACHICA would deliver any product ordered, even if a customer lived in a remote location. We considered that impression was further emphasised by the visual of the man sitting in a rural setting.
Because the ad omitted material information, we concluded that it was likely to mislead.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told ACHICA.com to ensure delivery exclusions and restrictions were clearly stated in future ads.