A TV ad, seen in April 2016, promoted Oak Furniture Land's bank holiday sale.
A voice-over stated, "At Oak Furniture Land there are solid hardwood sideboards from just two four nine." The ad featured a sideboard alongside a red 'price label' graphic featuring the text "From £249". Smaller on-screen text stated, "Featured product £449".
The complainant, who understood that the more prominent prices did not relate to the product featured, and found the smaller on-screen text difficult to read, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
JB Global Ltd t/a Oak Furniture Land did not believe the ad was misleading because they had included text on screen to show the prices of the featured product, which they understood was a form of pricing that was widely used. They said at no point did they imply that the product featured was available at the 'from' price. They believed the way the voice-over was structured made it clear that the product on screen was a true representation of one of their sideboards, and that the prices in that category started at £249. They did not believe they had implied the 'from' price related to the specific sideboard.
They understood the size of the on-screen text was compliant, and said it had been produced using Clearcast's guidelines. They said how clear it was would depend on the size of the television on which it was being viewed, but that it was on screen for the necessary time required. They believed that all of the necessary information was made available to the viewer, and that the ad could therefore not be deemed misleading.
Clearcast said the ad featured a ‘from price’ to showcase the range of products and the price at which the range started. They had advised the advertiser that if they wanted to follow that particular approach then they would either need to make sure that the featured product, in this case a sideboard, would be available at the quoted ‘from price’ or they would need to include on-screen text to ensure that the actual price of the product was featured so as not to mislead consumers as to the price. Clearcast believed that because the ad featured the actual price of the product, which appeared on screen at the same time the product was featured, that qualified how much the product cost. Therefore they did not believe the ad to be misleading.
The ASA noted that, when the product was shown on screen, the voice-over stated "At Oak Furniture Land there are solid hardwood sideboards from just two four nine", and that a graphic showed a "from" price of £249 in a graphic that looked like a price tag. We considered that the 'price tag' was prominent and that it gave the impression that it related to the product. We considered that the overall impression that viewers would take from the combination of the tag and the voice-over was that the featured product would be available for £249.
We noted that the ad did include on-screen text, which stated that the featured product was £449. The text was significantly smaller than the 'price tag', and the letters appeared to be 'squashed', so that they were narrower than the other text in the ad. The text was also against the background of the sideboard for some of the time it was on screen. We considered that the on-screen text could be missed by viewers, and was insufficiently prominent to counteract the impression created by the voice-over and 'price tag' that the product could be purchased for £249. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification), and 3.18 3.18 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product or service depicted in the advertisement. (Prices).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Oak Furniture Land to ensure that future ads did not mislead about the prices that applied to products shown in their ads.