Three product listings for jackets seen on www.sorelleuk.com, in December 2019 stated “River Faux Fur Jacket – Black”, “River Faux Fur Jacket – Pink”, and “River Faux Fur Jacket – White”, alongside images of models wearing the products.
IssueThe ASA challenged whether the claim “faux fur” in the product listings was misleading and could be substantiated.
ResponseSorelle Brand UK Ltd did not provide a substantive response to the ASA’s enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by Sorelle Brand UK Ltd’s (Sorelle) lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
The ASA initially received a complaint from Humane Society International (HSI) about “faux fur” claims made on Sorelle’s website regarding their bobble hat products. We understood that HSI had bought a bobble hat from Sorelle and found that the hat’s label stated that it contained marmot fur. We therefore contacted Sorelle to challenge all of the other “faux fur” claims that appeared on their website.
We explained that the ASA had received evidence that the bobble faux fur hat sold by Sorelle contained real marmot fur and requested that they remove the “faux fur” claims from the bobble faux fur beanie page of their website, to avoid misleading consumers. As part of that work we asked Sorelle to check the labels for all the other products labelled “faux fur” on their website and to send images of those labels, and explain what steps they had taken to test the products to ensure that they did not contain animal fur.
In response to that contact from us, Sorelle removed the “faux fur” claims from their bobble hats, but those claims continued to appear in the product listings for their jackets, for which they did not provide any explanation or the supporting evidence we had requested. We therefore referred the matter for a formal ASA investigation and ruling.
We asked Sorelle to provide test reports of the jackets to demonstrate what material they contained, as well as scans of the labels attached to the jackets. However, Sorelle did not provide any supporting evidence to show that their jackets contained exclusively faux fur. Because we had asked Sorelle to provide evidence to substantiate their faux fur claims, and they did not provide it, we concluded that the ad was misleading and 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 product listings must not appear again in their current form. We told Sorelle Brand UK Ltd not to make “faux fur” claims in their advertising if they did not hold evidence to demonstrate that their products contained exclusively faux fur with no real animal fur. We referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.