A video ad on Dyson’s website for their Light Ball Multi Floor vacuum cleaner, seen in July 2019 showed the testing of the product in various laboratory scenes. One scene showed the product plugged in at the bottom of some stairs while a technician walked up the stairs carrying a detachable nozzle (wand) which was connected to the body of the vacuum cleaner by a long hose. The technician was then shown using the wand to vacuum sand from the top step. During this scene the voiceover stated, “We’ve … included an instant release wand, with a total 13.8 metre reach”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the length of the hose between the vacuum cleaner and the wand was 13.8 metres.
Dyson Ltd said that the voiceover listed various attributes of the Light Ball including: “improved acoustic engineering to make it quieter”; “included an instant release wand; with a total 13.8 metre reach”; and “it is easy to carry”. Dyson said that those statements were separate features of the Light Ball and should not be read as meaning that the release wand was 13.8 m long. They said the visual did not focus just on the hose or state that the length of the hose was 13.8 m. Dyson explained that ‘total reach’ was a standardised measurement used by Dyson that represented the measurement from the plug socket to the end of the longest combination of included accessories. Dyson further clarified that the 13.8 m measurement was taken when the socket was fixed to a wall at the same height as the machine outlet, the cable fully unwound and the cleaner head anchored to keep the machine perpendicular to the floor with the long accessory tool attached.
The ASA noted that the voiceover stated, “… an instant release wand; with a total 13.8 metre reach” and was played alongside a shot of the vacuum cleaner at the bottom of the stairs plugged in to the socket with the hose extended. We noted Dyson’s comments that the claim “13.8 metre reach” was intended as a standalone statement about the total distance of the cord and hose from the plug socket to the nozzle. However, we considered that consumers would interpret the claims “instant release wand” and “with a total 13.8 metre reach” together, and would therefore understand the claim to relate to the maximum length of the hose when extended, from the main machine to the nozzle. We understood that the length of the hose, when extended, was not 13.8 m and was actually significantly shorter. Because consumers were likely to understand the claim “13.8 metre reach” to be referring to the length of the hose from the main machine to the nozzle, when actually it referred to the distance of the cord and hose from the plug socket to the nozzle, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead consumers.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 & 3.3 (Misleading advertising).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Dyson to make clear that the claim “13.8 metre reach” referred to the distance from the plug socket to the nozzle.