Four points were investigated and resolved informally with the advertiser’s agreement to make changes.
Substantiation challenges were raised against the claims:
1. “Mentoring bonus up to £550 for every person you bring in!”
2. “30% retail commission”
3. “£277k in available bonuses”
4. “Free holidays – BELEARICS [sic] and DUBAI right now – and for any level …”
Claim 1, was amended to, “Matching bonus up to £550 for every person you bring in!”. Claim 2, was amended to, “… up to 30% retail commission”. Claim 3, would not feature in future ads. Claim 4, would be amended to, “Holidays – BELEARICS [sic] and DUBAI right now – and for any level ...”.
Summary of Council decision:
Three issues were investigated, all of which were Upheld.
Two posts on the Work From Home UK Facebook page:
a. The first, posted on 23 May 2022, included the text, “Did you know???!....Oriflame is Europes [sic] #1 social selling beauty company and it is blowing up here now! 600+ beauty products. Product prices starting from £3! Products for every budget. £19 join up cost. Multiple, all inclusive incentive trips for every level! 30% retail commission. Generous team commission. £277k in available bonuses. Mentoring bonus up to £550 for every person you bring in! Free products. Support from experienced leaders. No pressure/organic growth strategy. Everything is transparent & authentic”. The text appeared alongside an image of a vase, filled with stars, with further text that stated, “REPS NEEDED”.
b. The second, posted on 15 May 2022, included the text, “Why join Oriflame right now??? Over 600 naturally driven but scientifically backed products. Your own store which rewards customers as well as you. Personal discount of 20-30%. £150 fast start bonus. £1100 advancement bonuses. Insane amount of incentives like over £200 in welcome reward freebies. Free holidays – BELEARICS [sic] and DUBAI right now – and for any level, join now and you can win. Free training and support. Apps and onboarding. And so much more”. The text appeared alongside an image of someone on a laptop with further text that stated, “THE WAY PEOPLE ARE SHOPPING is changing. THE WAY PEOPLE are making money IS CHANGING”.
The ASA challenged whether the following claims were misleading:
1. in ad (a), that an applicant could achieve a mentoring bonus up to £550 for every person brought into the company;
2. in ad (b), that an applicant would receive a £150 fast start bonus and £1100 advancement bonuses; and
3. in ad (a), that an applicant could obtain multiple inclusive incentive trips and in ad (b) that there were holidays to the Balearics and Dubai.
1. Oriflame said that the “mentoring bonus”, known officially as a “Matching Bonus”, was based on product sales rather than recruitment. A beauty partner did need to recruit other beauty partners, but if they made no sales then there would be no payment. Only a beauty partner that recruited other beauty partners who made the levels of sales required would receive the “Matching Bonus”.
They provided, “Matching Bonus” figures from 18 May 2022 to 19 July 2022 showing 120 beauty partners had achieved the bonus.
2. They said that Oriflame offered a fast start bonus and their UK Growth Package document outlined the relevant qualifications to achieve it. They provided, “fast start bonus” figures from 18 May 2022 to 19 July 2022 showing 781 beauty partners had achieved the bonus. They said that advancement bonuses were outlined in their cash award incentive document.
They said that the average person would interpret the claims, “Why join Oriflame right now???.....*£150 fast start bonus” and “Why join Oriflame right now???.....*£1100 advancement bonuses” to mean that an applicant would get the bonuses for a “fast start” and an “advancement”. While they said “fast start” and “advancement” were not explained in the ad, they did not believe that readers would think that there were no conditions or qualifications attached to earning the bonuses. They explained that anyone considering becoming a beauty partner would receive a Brand Partner Agreement which explained the terms of participation as a beauty partner, including all qualifications and conditions related to bonuses.
3. They said that they offered trips and incentives for beauty partners who achieved certain targets or levels. They provided the criteria for achieving a place on their all-inclusive trips to the Balearics and Dubai.
They said that they did not believe that readers would think that there were no conditions or qualifications attached to earning the trips. They explained that the primary claim was that anyone joining Oriflame, at any level, could qualify for an all-inclusive trip and that they were “incentive trips” because they were offered as an incentive to achieve a specific performance to qualify for that trip. While they said the conditions or qualifications were set out separately, they did not believe that the absence of those conditions meant consumers would be misled and would think that there were no conditions or qualifications attached to the trips.
1., 2. & 3. Upheld
The CAP Code stated that marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information and must state significant limitations and qualifications.
The ASA understood that to achieve the bonuses and holidays outlined in the ads, beauty partners would need to fulfil a number of steps and goals. In addition, the holidays that were available as incentives had limited places.
For example, regarding the holiday to the Balearics, a beauty partner would have needed a minimum of 2000 points to be eligible for one of the 25 spaces available. To gain these points a beauty partner could have either sold skin care sets (50 points each sale), recruited individuals who in turn would have placed orders (50 points per recruit) or earned new titles within the company at a leadership level (200 points) and they would have needed to do so multiple times to reach the 2000 points total.
Further to that, to obtain the £150 fast start bonus a beauty partner would have needed to set up their own personal beauty store and receive at least three orders, minimum £45, within 90 days. If they had done that they would have qualified for a £50 bonus. To receive the remaining £100 they needed to register at least one person as a beauty partner within 90 days and the new recruit then had to make three sales with a minimum price of £45, within 90 days.
We understood that those examples represented significant limitations that a consumer would have needed to know up front in order to understand the ads’ message fully. We noted Oriflame’s comments that consumers would not assume from the ads that the bonuses and holidays were available without conditions. However, even if consumers did understand that terms and conditions would apply, it was important for them to be provided with enough information in the ads for them to decide whether or not to enquire further. The information that was omitted in relation to each of the incentives was significant and may have influenced a reader's response.
We acknowledged posts on Facebook, especially where multiple claims were being made, were constrained by space. Where a marketing communication was limited by time or space, the measures that the marketer took to make that information available to the consumer by other means were relevant when considering whether it was misleading. Information about the terms and conditions for the bonuses and holidays were contained in Oriflame’s documents, including the Brand Partner Agreement. However, ad (a) invited interested parties to direct message the partner featured in the ad for more information and ad (b) offered no links. Therefore, the material information about the bonuses and holidays were not in the ads or otherwise easily made available for reference before a decision to interact further was made.
Further to that, while the ads were limited by space, that did not prevent the advertiser from including a general disclaimer that bonuses and holidays were dependent on beauty partners earning specific amounts and recruitment targets and that holidays had limited places. Additional detailed information could then have been found on a landing page, one click away, that included the relevant terms and conditions or at least contained a prominent link to the terms and conditions.
Therefore, because the ads did not include sufficient information to make consumers aware that the outlined incentives were based on specific earnings and recruitment targets and that the holidays had limited places, which was material information, and because the relevant terms and conditions were not made readily available before further enquiry was necessary, we concluded that the ads were misleading.
On those points, the ad breached 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), 3.9 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 Advertising Guidance on Misleading advertising: use of qualifications. (Qualification).
The ads must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Oriflame Cosmetics SA to ensure that their future marketing communications did not omit material information, specifically that they made sufficiently clear that bonuses and holidays were dependent on performance, including earnings and recruitment targets, and that advertised holidays had limited places.