A website for an online florist, www.eflorist.co.uk, was seen on 29 February 2016. The home page featured an image of a bouquet named ‘Parasol’. This image was linked to the product page, which featured an image of a bouquet with lilies, carnations, roses and gerberas in a glass vase. Text below the image stated "Our expert florist will personally create your bouquet using the finest and freshest pink, lavender and mauve stems. Your flowers will be hand chosen by the Florist, the image shown is for illustration purposes only, and may vary". Smaller text further down the page stated "Seasonal availability of certain individual flowers may vary from those illustrated. Products ordered do not include a vase, flower basket or container unless otherwise stated. Our florists may substitute flowers and sundries for a suitable alternative, similar in style, quality and value depending on availability".
The complainant, who believed that the image was not representative of the product received, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
EuroFlorist Europe BV t/a eFlorist stated that text below the product image and at the bottom of the web page made clear that their images were for illustration purposes only, that the content might vary and only the colours of the flowers (pink, lilac and mauve) were set. Therefore, their executing florist had met the order requirements of that particular design.
The ASA noted that the product page included an image of the bouquet which changed depending on whether a customer selected a “Regular”, “Medium” or “Large” bouquet. The description stated that the florist would create a “seasonal bouquet”, using “pink, lavender and mauve stems”, but did not include any claims regarding the specific flowers or foliage included. The flowers featured in the product images were clearly discernible, however, and included lilies, roses, carnations and gerberas. In that context, we considered that consumers were likely to expect that while the product received might not be exactly as depicted in the image, the image was an accurate representation of the product they would receive in terms of volume, and the colours and types of flowers included. We noted the product description stated “… the image shown is for illustration purposes only”, and smaller text at the bottom of the page stated “Seasonal availability of certain individual flowers may vary from those illustrated … Our florists may substitute flowers and sundries for a suitable alternative, similar in style, quality and value depending on availability”. However, we noted that the text at the bottom of the page lacked prominence and, nevertheless, we considered that consumers were still likely to understand that any substitutions would be at a minimum and that the volume and overall colour scheme shown in the image would be maintained. Further, given the emphasis on the fact a local florist would create the bouquet, we considered consumers were likely to anticipate that the bouquet would arrive pre-arranged, ready to simply be placed in a vase or container.
We understood that the bouquet received was flat packed and therefore had to be arranged by the recipient. It was less voluminous than the bouquet featured in the ad, had significantly fewer flowers and did not include any roses, lilies or carnations. Further, some of the substitute flowers were, contrary to the colour scheme depicted in the ad, white and purple. Because of that, we considered that the image was not an accurate representation of the advertised product and concluded that it was misleading.
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 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told eFlorist to ensure that the images of their bouquets were representative of the product consumers would actually receive.