A TV ad for PerfectHome, a rent-to-own provider, seen on 25 October 2018, featured an animated cat singing the following lyrics from the Fairground Attraction song 'Perfect': "It's got to be perfect, it's got to be worth it. Too many people take second best, but I won't take anything less. It's got to be perfect" while walking around a house that contained a number of high-value items such as an iPad, wireless headphones, an American-style fridge freezer, and a flat screen TV. In the last scene the cat said, "Shop now and pay weekly at perfecthome.co.uk".
The complainant challenged whether the song and the focus on luxury goods promoted the purchase of items on high-interest credit in an irresponsible manner.
Temple Finance Ltd t/a PerfectHome said the ad was intended to be parodic and that Fairground Attraction’s ‘Perfect’ was featured since the products they sold were new, and because the word ‘perfect’ tied-in with their trading name. They said that the ad was intended to be amusing, which was underlined by the fridge, that featured in the ad, being full of fish. They said sofas, beds, and fridges were 'core household goods' and that none of the products featured in the ad could be considered ‘luxury’; no branding was shown, no prices were referenced and the items simply represented the categories of products that they sold. Where the consumer credit aspect of the ad was concerned, they said that credit was 'subject to status' and that circa 60% of credit applications were rejected.
Clearcast said they agreed with PerfectHome’s statements. They said the ad did not specifically refer to luxury goods as something that could be bought using credit. They also said while the song that featured was catchy, it related to the name of the finance product on offer and was therefore obscure enough to not be considered socially irresponsible.
The ASA acknowledged that while PerfectHome was advertising the range of goods it stocked as a retailer, the reference to “shop now pay weekly” at the end of the ad, a prominent RAPR, and the statement “subject to status” were likely to be understood by viewers to mean that some form of credit would be required to purchase the items shown.
We noted the ad featured a number of branded items such as Bose wireless headphones, an Apple iPad, an LG flat screen television that emerged from the end of a bed and a large American-style fridge freezer with a double-door and water dispenser. We acknowledged that headphones, tablets, TVs and fridge-freezers were types of product that could be considered ‘core household goods’, but we considered that the featured items would be seen by viewers as high-cost makes and models of those products that were at the luxury end of their respective markets. We considered that the use and repetition of the word ‘perfect’ in the ad drew particular attention to their desirability and suggested that viewers need not settle for functional or mid-range household goods and should instead buy more expensive luxury items using high-cost credit.
We therefore concluded the ad was socially irresponsible and breached the Code.
The ad breached BCAP Code rule 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Social responsibility).
The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Temple Finance Ltd to ensure that their future advertising did not present borrowing in a socially irresponsible manner.