An ad for a television on www.johnlewis.com was headed "Sony Bravia KDL32EX523 LED HD 1080p TV, 32 inch with Built-in Freeview HD £399.95". Further text stated "Product Information" and "The Sony Bravia KDL-37EX723 will allow you to enjoy crisp Full HD pictures for TV, films and games in 2D and 3D. Add to that access to a whole wealth of online content at your fingertips and this set is destined to impress. See lifelike Full HD quality in 2D and 3D when connected to a compatible 3D ready device. You'll experience smooth viewing of fast-action sports and movies with Motionflow XR 200, delivering the action at the equivalent of 200 frames per second, providing less judder and blurring. Every pixel of your 2D or 3D picture is enhanced by Sony's unique picture technology. Due to its edge-lit LED display, you'll experience enhanced colour intensity, high contrasts and improved energy efficiency, all within its ultra slim screen design."
The complainant, who understood the television was LCD with LED edge-lit technology, and believed it was therefore not a full LED screen, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
John Lewis Partnership plc t/a John Lewis (John Lewis) said there was no such thing as a "full LED screen". They said the term "LED TV" was used by them, and the rest of the industry, as a simple, generic descriptor for a number of different types of technologies that utilised LEDs (light emitting diodes) to improve television viewing quality. They said there are a number of different ways that LEDs were used to backlight LCD TVs and improve picture quality, including placing the LEDs around the edge of the panel, referred to as "edge-lit". They believed the majority of the electrical appliance industry used the term "LED TV" to describe LED back-lit TVs, and provided some examples of this. They believed this term would be generally understood by consumers, and did not believe it was misleading. They believed it was important that ads giving the full product information about TVs qualified the specific kind of LED technology used, for example "edge-lit".
The ASA noted that LED displays were not used in domestic TV sets, and it was therefore not possible to purchase a TV with an LED screen. We noted that it was possible to purchase TVs with OLED (organic light emitting diode) screens, but that it appeared these were always described as OLED, rather than LED, TVs and were not so widely available as TVs using more established technology. We noted that John Lewis believed "LED TV" was a term used by the majority of the industry to describe TVs with an LCD screen that was backlit by LEDs, and we acknowledged that the term was widely used.
We sought an opinion from Ofcom, and they agreed that "LED TV" was a widely used term for TV sets with LED backlighting. They believed that the full product description adequately clarified the nature of the technology.
We considered that the term "LED TV" appeared to be widely used in the electrical appliance industry, and noted that the only domestic TV sets described in this way were LCD screen with LED backlighting. We did not consider that the term "LED TV" in itself implied that the screen was comprised of LEDs. We noted that the ad went on to describe the technology used in the TV as "edge-lit LED display", and therefore considered the ad adequately clarified the technology that the TV used. We therefore concluded that the ad was not misleading.
We investigated the ad under 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) 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. and 3.10 3.10 Qualifications must be presented clearly.
CAP has published a Help Note on Claims that Require Qualification. (Qualification) but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.