Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, one of which was Not upheld and one of which was Upheld.
Two teleshopping ads, broadcast on the Create and Craft Channel, promoted a Disney die set with paper pad:
a. The first ad was broadcast between 7 pm and 9 pm on 18 May 2017. On-screen text stated “Disney Beauty and the Beast Theatrical A Romance Beyond Words Limited Edition with Paper Pad CLUB PRICE £26.99 Create and Craft Price £29.99 UK P&P £1.49”. One presenter stated, “… We have to decide how many we want to make and we have to sign a very important piece of paper that says that once we’ve manufactured those, we then destroy the plate so it can’t ever come back. So it is absolutely a true limited edition.” The other presenter then stated, “If you are a collector of Disney products, you’re going to want to get this, whether you are a crafter or not … if you are getting it as a collector, you probably won’t take it out of the packet. Because of course, who is to say in a few years’ time, because it’s limited edition, it could be worth a lot.” The same presenter also stated, “… A certain amount of these are made and once they’re gone, they are gone. The original plate is destroyed and they will not be made again … If you are a crafter, of course you will be wanting to craft with this. But you might want to get a second one just to keep it in its packaging, to keep for years to come. Who knows what it will be worth.”
b. The second ad was broadcast between 9 am and 10 am on 21 May 2017. It included the same on-screen text as in ad (a). One of the presenters stated, “… When we say limited edition, we really mean limited edition … We’ve got a wonderful die and paper, which we will go into but what happens with this once they’re gone.” The other presenter then said, “So we decided which artwork we want to use, decided how many we want to manufacture. The plate is made, the dies are manufactured and the plate is destroyed. We have to sign … a very important document saying that will happen so it absolutely is a true limited edition. When it’s gone, it will never come back again.” The same presenter then explained the components of the package and stated “… I would buy two personally. I would buy one to use and one to keep in the packaging because who knows what this is going to be, you know, in a few years’ time.”
The complainant challenged whether:
1. the claims that the die set was limited edition were misleading and could be substantiated; and
2. the ads breached the Code because it implied an unregulated product could have investment potential.
1. Ideal Shopping Direct Ltd t/a Create and Craft said that the advertised die sets were manufactured under licence to Disney, who audited the number of items sold in each range under that licence. The range of Disney products that they sold were developed in accordance with a character style guide supplied by Disney and the designs of the range would be submitted to Disney for assessment and approval. Business decisions, such as product quantities and limited editions, were determined by Ideal Shopping Direct. The quantity ordered for “limited edition” items would be based on the strength of the character brand, film activity and associated film merchandising. They did not have a defined sale period for the Disney die set in question; the item was limited by quantity, rather than the period on which the item was available for purchase.
Ideal Shopping Direct said that they sold a number of comparable Disney limited edition ranges. They provided a product briefing document that they stated was submitted to Disney, which detailed the designs and proposed quantities for each product under the Beauty and the Beast range. They also provided a similar product briefing document for a previous ‘101 Dalmatians’ range. They also provided copies of two purchase orders. The first detailed the order placed with the manufacturer by their wholly owned subsidiary company Craft Channel Productions Ltd, which created and supplied the Disney product to them. The second detailed the purchase order placed by Ideal Shopping Direct with Craft Channel Productions. The purchase order forms indicated 1,550 units of the advertised die and stamp sets were ordered to be produced.
Ideal Shopping Direct also provided a copy of a confirmation letter from Craft Channel Productions Ltd to them which stated that a total production run of 1,550 of the die and stamp set had been produced; 1,500 of which were for commercial sale and 50 units were for sample production, promotional or demonstration purposes only. The letter also stated that the production templates for the dies and stamps would be destroyed and the compound artwork for the paper pad that formed part of the set would be deleted after the run.
2. Create and Craft accepted that the references regarding the product being an investment purchase was not something that the presenters had discussed, or had been advised to make, by either their product or creative teams, and they accepted that this was a claim that should not have been made on-air. They stated that they had reminded their presenters not to make such claims and would be reinforcing their training.
1. Not upheld
The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand from the “limited edition” claims in the ads to mean that only a limited number of the die set were produced and available for purchase, and that those items would not be reproduced or become available for sale again after they had sold out.
We noted that the evidence provided by Ideal Shopping Direct indicated that 1,500 of the 1,550 die sets manufactured were available for sale, which was similar to the number of equivalent die set ordered for a previous Disney product range that they sold. The evidence also indicated that the production templates for the die sets would be destroyed and the artwork would be deleted after the production run. Notwithstanding that the products were still available for purchase at present, we considered that Ideal Shopping Direct had provided adequate documentary evidence to demonstrate that the advertised die sets were produced and sold in limited numbers. We therefore conclude that the claim “limited edition” was unlikely to mislead.
On that point, we investigated the ads under BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 (Substantiation), but did not find it in breach.
We noted that the presenters in ad (a) made references to the die set as a collector’s item and also referred to the potential worth of the die set in a few years’ time if kept in mint condition. One of the presenters in ad (b) stated “… I would buy two personally. I would buy one to use and one to keep in the packaging because who knows what this is going to be, you know, in a few years’ time.”
We considered that those references in ads (a) and (b), in combination with the claims that the die set was a “limited edition” item, gave an impression that the die set advertised had investment value. However, because the die set was not an investment product regulated or permitted under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (FSMA), the BCAP Code did not permit advertising for it which implied it could have investment potential, other than on specialised financial channels. We therefore concluded the ad breached the Code.
On that point, the ads breached BCAP Code rule 14.5.4 (Financial products, services and investments).
The ads must not be broadcast in their current forms again. We told Create and Craft to ensure that future advertising did not imply that similar collectors’ products or other products that were not regulated or permitted under FSMA could have investment potential.