A TV ad, for Boots Opticians, featured people discussing their glasses. Claims included "For me it's the anti-glare; they put anti-glare in there, and for me that makes a really big difference" and "I like the anti-glare as well, for driving at night".
The complainant, a registered optician, challenged whether the claim "anti-glare" was misleading.
Boots Opticians Professional Services Ltd t/a Boots Opticians Ltd said the claim in the ad related to their standard lens offer, which included a reflection-free finish. They said "reflection free finish" was the principle terminology they used; they provided an example of point-of-sale material which used that term. The term related to a coating which was applied to both the front and back of the lens, which reduced the amount of light hitting the back of the lens and 'bouncing' into the eye. That resulted in greater visual comfort and perception of brightness.
Boots Opticians said the ad was based on genuine customer testimonials and used the language and terminology those customers had used when describing their glasses. They provided transcripts of the relevant customer interviews. They said they had decided to leave the references that two customers had made to "anti-glare" lenses in the ad, because they wished to present the customers as they genuinely spoke and because they felt that if their customers were referring to the reflection-free finish as "anti-glare" that was how their customers understood that particular lens finish. They said their 'official' wording of "reflection free" was used in all other promotional material as well as during conversations with customers in practices. They said that one of the common aspects of customer feedback was that the term "glare" was used by customers to refer to the impact of reflected light on vision and visual comfort.
Boots Opticians said the company which manufactured their reflection-free lenses had conducted research which showed they improved visual acuity in the presence of extreme glare such an oncoming vehicle headlights; provided up to 30% wider field of vision and better contrast at night in the presence of glare; and provided a faster recovery time after exposure to extreme glare. They highlighted that in the United States the manufacturer marketed the lenses as "no glare", and provided a leaflet from the manufacturer which summarised their research.
Clearcast said the "anti-glare" claim in the ad referred to anti-reflective lenses, which reduced the reflective glare on lenses. They understood, in contrast, that the complainant had interpreted the claim "anti-glare" to refer to polarized lenses, which decreased the visible light of sun reflected off surfaces by absorbing that light. Clearcast understood that opticians dispensed "anti-glare" lenses because the decreased reflection made them look better, and they produced less glare, which was particularly noticeable when driving at night or working in front of a computer monitor. The decrease in glare meant that wearers often found their eyes were less tired, particularly at the end of the day. Allowing more light to pass through the lens also increased contrast and therefore increased visual acuity.
The ASA understood the complainant considered the term "anti-glare" to mean that the lenses would reduce the brightness of a light source through the inclusion of a light filtering or reducing tint. Because the lenses did not include such a tint, he believed the ad misled viewers as to the features of the lenses.
Whilst we noted the complainant's concern, we considered the average consumer would understand the claim "anti-glare" in the ad to mean that the advertiser offered lenses which helped to reduce the effect of what would generally be described as "glare", such as the 'halo' effect caused by vehicle headlights at night. Because we understood that the reflection-free finish used on the lenses did help to reduce such effects, we concluded the ad was unlikely to mislead consumers.
We investigated the ad under 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 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.