A TV ad, for a sale at an outlet shopping complex, showed a man and a woman carrying bags of shopping back to their car. The woman said, "Did we get everything we needed?" and the man replied "Think so darling." The boot of their car was then shown full of bags showing the names of popular brands. The couple were shown in the front seats of the car. Shopping bags were piled up behind them on the back seat with the most prominent showing the "BOSE" logo. The couple then took turns listing items that they had bought. The woman said, "New bag, sports gear, kitchen stuff" and the man said "New suit, sound system, jeans." The woman then said, "Don't forget; mum's coming over tonight" and the man replied, "Don't worry, sorted darling" and produced a pair of headphones and put them on. A voice-over then said, "Don't miss our massive clearance sale, now on at Junction One Antrim." Large on-screen text stated "CLEARANCE SALE! NOW ON".
The complainant, who had found that the Bose shop did not have a sale on, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Junction One Ltd explained that their clearance sale was an annual post-Christmas event which commenced on Boxing Day, with TV advertising breaking the day before. Although the commercial was for Junction One International Outlet, rather than for Bose specifically, the Junction One management team always sought to assist individual retailers as and when they could. When possible retailer logos were featured in advertising though some brands preferred not to be overtly referenced because they were an outlet complex.
Junction One said the creative execution featured some "Mother-in-Law" humour employing a prop in the form of some Bose headphones, with the intention of being helpful to Bose.
Representatives from Bose were shown the commercial before it was put on air to ensure that they were happy with it and the commercial was submitted for broadcast clearance in good faith on the understanding that, as per previous years, all parties were participating in the sale. All other retailers participated, as required and advertised, with Bose being the only exception.
Junction One said they were disappointed in the internal breakdown in communication which had led to the complaint and would endeavour to ensure that even more robust measures were put in place in future.
UTV said there was no issue with the advertising copy itself. In clearing the ad they understood that the shopping centre itself had the agreement of all the retailers in the complex before making an offer on their behalf.
The ASA considered that the prominent use of the Bose logo and the use of the Bose headphones in the ad would be interpreted by customers to mean that Bose were taking part in the sale. Although we understood that that had been the intention, we were concerned that the Bose store had subsequently chosen not to participate.
Because the ad implied that the Bose store would participate in the sale and because we understood that it had not done so, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not mislead consumers 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 consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
We told Junction One to ensure that their ads accurately reflected which companies were participating in their sales.