A TV ad for Currys PC World, seen on 2 January 2018, promoted their sale. The voice-over stated, “Take control with the Logitech racing wheel and get a free driving force shifter usually £49.”
The complainant, who was unable to find the product in store or online at the advertised price, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
DSG Retail Ltd ta Currys PC World said sales forecasts for the item were based on sales data held for the previous year and also factored in the anticipated uplift in sales that they usually experienced in promotions run over the Christmas period. They supplied spreadsheet information showing the total stock holding and the total number of sales of the item between 20 December 2017 and 2 January 2018. They said their Chippenham branch (the branch the complainant had visited) held stock of the item, albeit in limited numbers, on both 2 and 3 January. They were therefore surprised that the complainant had been unable to purchase the item if he visited the branch on 2 January.
Currys PC World also supplied a non-exhaustive list of their stores within a 100-mile radius of the customer's location that had held stock of the item on both 2 and 3 January; of the sales achieved by stores between those dates; and of the stores which still held stock on 4 January. They said they were therefore unable to understand how a consumer would have been unable to find availability of the item.
Clearcast said that prior to approving the ad for transmission they had confirmed the featured products' current and higher prices and that there was sufficient stock to meet anticipated demand.
The ASA acknowledged the complainant's disappointment at being unable to find the product available on 2 January. We saw from the spreadsheet that Currys PC World had supplied as evidence that several stores, as well as Currys PC World's online business, had stock available between 2 and 3 January. As far as stock in stores was concerned, we noted that availability was in the low single figures in the stores listed and that very few had availability on both 2 and 3 January. We considered that it was possible availability in those stores could have run out on 2 January but that new stock became available on 3 January. We considered that might go some way to explaining the complainant's experience. Nevertheless, we considered Currys PC World had demonstrated that they had anticipated demand adequately and had made sales and held stock of the product, either in stores or in their online business, at the time the complainant was seeking to buy it. We therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules
The standards objectives, insofar as they relate to advertising, include:
a) that persons under the age of 18 are protected;
b) that material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;
c) that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;
d) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;
e) that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;
f) that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with [in particular in respect of television those obligations set out in Articles 3b, 3e,10, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 22 of Directive 89/552/EEC (the Audi Visual Media Services Directive)];
g) that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred"
Section 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. 2). (Misleading advertising), 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) and 3.28 3.28 Broadcasters must be satisfied that advertisers have made a reasonable estimate of demand. 3.29 3.29 Advertisements that quote prices for featured products must state any reasonable grounds the advertisers have for believing that they might not be able to supply the advertised (or an equivalent) product at the advertised price, within a reasonable period and in reasonable quantities. In particular: and 3.29.1 3.29.1 if estimated demand exceeds supply, advertisements must make clear that stock is limited (Availability), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.