Claims on www.naimaudio.com promoted a power cable for audio equipment. Text stated, " ... it controls the corrupting influence of mains power on delicate audio electronics, creating the best possible environment in which they can shine".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "it controls the corrupting influence of mains power on delicate audio electronics" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Naim Audio Ltd provided a graph showing the results of a test carried out by an audio review magazine, along with an article from the magazine which commented on the results of a "group test" on several power cables. They said the test clearly showed how specialised mains cables filtered noise from the mains supply away from the audio electronics within connected products.
Naim also provided the results of a test they carried out to show how the product also protected audio products from other external vibration. They said ultimately, the listening experience was most important, and that they would invite anyone to listen to the product against standard mains cables, and said they often did so at shows and at retailers. They said the overwhelming response was that people could hear and appreciate the difference.
The ASA considered that the claim "it controls the corrupting influence of mains power on delicate audio electronics" implied that mains power would have a negative effect on the sound quality of audio equipment, and that the product could mitigate that effect. We also considered that the claim "creating the best possible environment in which they can shine" added to the impression that the product could have an effect on sound quality, and suggested that a difference would be noticeable to consumers.
We noted that the article provided by Naim did refer to "mild RFI filtering", and stated that the product "did lift many Naim and other products including amplifiers". However, we did not consider a review in a magazine to be adequate evidence to substantiate the claim in the ad.
Similarly, we noted that the results of Naim's test related to mains cables being subjected to outside vibration, but we considered that it did not demonstrate that mains power itself had a corrupting influence on audio electronics, nor that the product could control that influence. We therefore concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was therefore misleading.
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 Naim Audio Ltd not to imply that mains power had a negative and perceptible influence on audio equipment or that their products could control such an influence, unless they held adequate substantiation to demonstrate that this was the case.