A press ad for Currys PC World stated "Save £200 on our colourful range of HP Pavilion laptops" and featured images of three laptops from the HP Pavilion range. Text underneath stated "Get everything you've always wanted in a laptop. Like a fast Intel® Core™ i5-4288U processor. Pin sharp Intel® Iris™ graphics for advanced video and image editing. And a huge 1.5TB hard drive to store all your music, films and photos. Come in store or go online to see the full colour range and pick one that suits you for just £399".
The complainant, who understood that some products in the HP Pavilion range were not discounted by £200, challenged whether the claim "Save £200 on our colourful range of HP Pavilion laptops" was misleading.
DSG Retail Ltd t/a Currys PC World said it seemed the complainant had focused on the claim "Save £200" rather than on the ad as a whole. They said the ad referred to their "colourful range of HP Pavilion laptops", and featured images of three differently coloured laptops which were all discounted by £200. They highlighted that text underneath the images referred to an Intel Core i5-4288U processor, Intel Iris graphics and a 1.5TB hard drive, stated that customers should check online or in store to see the full colour range (because a pink variant with the same specifications was not featured in the ad), and that the price of the laptops in question was £399. The ad also showed the Intel i5 and Intel Iris Graphics logos. Currys PC World said the three laptops featured in the ad, together with the pink variant, were their only HP Pavilion laptops which included all the specifications featured in the ad and were priced at £399. They considered the ad therefore was not misleading.
The ASA considered consumers would understand the headline claim "Save £200 on our colourful range of HP Pavilion laptops" to mean that all HP Pavilion laptops were discounted by £200, and that the three laptops featured in the ad were included as examples of the laptops in that range.
Whilst we acknowledged that further claims provided information about specifications and referred to a price of £399, we considered it was not clear that those details specifically related to the three laptops featured in the ad plus one additional laptop rather than to the HP Pavilion range as a whole. We considered that text therefore did not provide clarification to the implication in the headline claim that the £200 saving applied to all laptops in the range. Furthermore, we considered that even if that text had made clear that the specifications and pricing related only to the three featured laptops and an additional pink version, that qualifying information would have contradicted, rather than clarified, the headline claim.
Because the ad was likely to be understood to mean that all laptops in the HP Pavilion range were discounted by £200 when that was not the case, we concluded that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer 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 the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Currys PC World not to make claims that discounts applied to entire ranges of products when only some products within the range carried that discount.