The Lionheart GB Facebook page www.facebook.com/LionheartGB featured text on the "About" section that stated "Lionheart GB is a non-for-profit British, patriotic forum/organisation to promote British history and culture through education and awareness projects ... To assist and enable British non-for-profit/benevolent organizations to maintain their services by providing secure funding ... A non-profit patriotic organization, manufacturing and supplying the Lionheart brand of pro-British, pro-Christian clothing, jewellery, memorabilia and novelty items, all profits donated to worthwhile British causes".
The complainant challenged whether the references to "non-for-profit" and "non-profit" were misleading and could be substantiated.
Lionheart GB said it was an unincorporated society launched in August 2014. They said they were in the process of exploring the option of becoming a 'not for profit' company. They did not consider themselves to be a commercial enterprise and said that at the end of the financial year they would decide where to distribute any surplus funds. During the investigation, they provided a copy of their constitution, which they believed demonstrated they were a non-profit organisation.
The ASA noted the ad stated 'all profits donated to worthwhile British causes'. In conjunction with the references to Lionheart GB as a 'non-for-profit', and 'non-profit', organisation, we considered consumers would understand the ad to mean that Lionheart GB was a not-for-profit organisation that donated all profits to third parties.
Lionheart GB had operated since August 2014. However, we understood that, at the time the ad appeared, it had not formally established itself as a not-for-profit organisation, but rather that it was consulting on whether to do so. During the investigation, Lionheart GB provided a copy of their constitution. It omitted, however, a number of details, such as by whom the declaration had been made, the date of the declaration and a signature.
We were therefore concerned that we had not seen sufficient documentary evidence to substantiate Lionheart GB's status as a non-profit organisation or their intention to donate any profits to third parties. We therefore considered the references to "non-for-profit" and "non-profit" were likely to mislead consumers. On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising) and 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lionheart GB not to claim to be "non-for-profit" and "non-profit", unless they held robust substantiation to support such claims.