A website for Amazing Cleaners, www.amazingcleaners.co.uk, seen in July 2016, featured the claim “100% ECO FRIENDLY”.
The complainant, who understood that eco-friendly products were not used, challenged whether the claim was misleading.
HDS Group Ltd t/a Amazing Cleaners did not respond to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Amazing Cleaners’ lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that consumers were likely to understand the claim “100% ECO FRIENDLY” to mean that all the cleaning products used by Amazing Cleaners would not cause any environmental damage over their full life-cycle.
The CAP Code requires marketers to hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and are capable of objective substantiation. We considered that evidence was required to show that the cleaning products used by the advertiser would not cause any environmental damage. In the absence of substantiation to show that was the case, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
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) 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are 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), 11.1 11.1 The basis of environmental claims must be clear. Unqualified claims could mislead if they omit significant information. 11.3 11.3 Absolute claims must be supported by a high level of substantiation. Comparative claims such as "greener" or "friendlier" can be justified, for example, if the advertised product provides a total environmental benefit over that of the marketer's previous product or competitor products and the basis of the comparison is clear. and 11.4 11.4 Marketers must base environmental claims on the full life cycle of the advertised product, unless the marketing communication states otherwise, and must make clear the limits of the life cycle. If a general claim cannot be justified, a more limited claim about specific aspects of a product might be justifiable. Marketers must ensure claims that are based on only part of the advertised product's life cycle do not mislead consumers about the product's total environmental impact. (Environmental claims).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told the advertiser to ensure that they held sufficient substantiation to show that they used eco-friendly products. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.