A circular letter for Denhan, an estate agent, received on 2 August 2021 and hand delivered in a plain white envelope was addressed to “Private: Please Forward The Legal Owner”. The letter inside included the heading “Landlords Can We Tempt You With Guaranteed Rent & £1000.00 cashback?”
IssueThe complainant challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication and did not make clear its commercial intent.
ResponseDenhan International Ltd indicated their willingness to make changes to their advertising.
The CAP code stated that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. Marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that was not obvious from the context.
The ASA noted that the letter was delivered in a plain white envelope and the only visible text was “Private: Please Forward The Legal Owner”, within a window. Consumers would therefore have no way of knowing, until they opened the envelope, that the enclosed material was advertising. In addition, we considered that consumers were likely to interpret the wording within the window to mean that the envelope contained important documents, rather than a marketing communication.
Because the ad was not obviously identifiable as a marketing communication, we concluded that it breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 2.1 and 2.3 (Recognition of marketing communications).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Denhan International Ltd to ensure that future marketing communications were obviously identifiable as such, and made clear their commercial intent.