A direct mailing for Hyperoptic Ltd, dated 2 May 2016, was addressed to "The Resident" at the recipient's address. Text on the outside stated "Open now to pick up your speed". Smaller text at the bottom stated "Sent by Hyperoptic Ltd. If undelivered return to [postal address]". The reverse took the appearance of a card notifying the householder of an undelivered letter or parcel. Text stated "hyperoptic - SORRY, Your current broadband supplier couldn't deliver - ". A panel contained "handwritten" text stating the time and date; the name "Mr D. Livery" and "See Reverse" for the address. A further panel headed "Your item" listed "Movies", "Games", "Cat Videos", "Music" and "Box Set". Text underneath stated " - could not be downloaded because: Your broadband provider is charging you for fibre, but squeezing your data through old copper phone lines - Please see inside to pick up your speed".
The recipient challenged whether the ad was obviously identifiable as a marketing communication.
Hyperoptic Ltd believed it was clear that the envelope contained marketing material from them. They said their logo was positioned prominently on the front, and made clear who it was from, and that the headline made it clear that the mailing related to broadband services. They believed the purpose and subject matter was reinforced by other prominent text that was reminiscent of messages received when downloading content from the internet.
They said a section of text headed "Promotional terms" took up one quarter of the reverse of the envelope and appeared alongside the text "Sent by Hyperoptic Ltd", and their return address, all of which they believed signified to the recipient that the item was a marketing communication.
Hyperoptic said further text on the outside of the envelope stated "open now" and "see inside" and suggested to recipients that further information was contained inside. They supplied the contents of the mailing, which they believed clearly stated their marketing purpose.
The ASA noted that the outside of the mailing bore a strong resemblance in size, shape, colour and design to cards that informed householders that it had not been possible to deliver an item of post. As such, we considered the initial impression a consumer was likely to receive, particularly if they did not see the side with the address panel on it first, was that the communication concerned undelivered mail. We acknowledged that, once examined, the text on the outside of the envelope stated Hyperoptic's name, the terms of the promotion and referred to broadband supplier, speed and downloading content and was likely to suggest to recipients that the purpose of the mailing was to promote an offer from a broadband supplier. Nevertheless, we considered that was not sufficient to make it obvious that it was a marketing communication. Because we considered the marketing communication was not obviously identifiable as such, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 2.1 2.1 Marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such. and 2.3 2.3 Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context. (Recognition of marketing communications).
The ad must not be used again in its current form. We told Hyperoptic Ltd to ensure their marketing communications were obviously identifiable as such.