A national press ad for a heater featured a picture of the product attached to a wall with text that stated "Energy-efficient room heaters ... This space-saving heater has a low power element that uses a fraction of the electricity consumed by ordinary heaters, which is why it costs less than a light bulb to run. Designed to repel damp, keep warm and dry, or circulate warm air. Finished in white enamel, the 45W heater is supplied with a safety guard and comes with wall-mounting brackets and 85cm lead with fitted plug. 45W Energy-efficient room heaters with guard ...".
The complainant, who believed that the product had insufficient wattage to heat up an entire room, challenged whether the ad exaggerated the efficacy of the product.
Easylife Group Ltd stated that the ad did not make any reference in regards to the type of room the product was suitable for. They stated that consumers could visit their website to obtain further information on the product, which included text that stated "45w [sic] for utility room, wardrobes, passages and airing cupboards". Easylife Group acknowledged that this implied that the product's wattage was suitable for small areas, but stated that the product was also available with a higher output of 135 Watts for larger rooms. However, they stated that the product was still more economical than conventional heaters that, in comparison, consumed a much higher amount of electricity when transferring heat by convection. They felt that this demonstrated the product's energy efficiency.
The ASA acknowledged that the ad did not explicitly state the type of room the product was suitable for and was marketed as being an energy efficient heater, which transferred heat by convection. However, we noted that the product was described as "Energy-efficient room heaters" and "This space-saving heater has a low power element that uses a fraction of the electricity consumed by ordinary heaters, which is why it costs less than a light bulb to run". We considered that this implied that the product was just as effective as a high wattage conventional room heater, but consumed significantly less electricity in comparison. Because this was not the case, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading Advertising) and 3.11 3.11 Marketing communications must not mislead consumers by exaggerating the capability or performance of a product. (Exaggeration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Easylife Group Ltd that their future advertising for heaters that they sold must not exaggerate their heating capabilities.