The website for Look Fantastic www.lookfantastic.com, a beauty products retailer, seen on 18 February 2019, featured two listings:
a. A listing for ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Rose Cleansing Balm featured a red box with text that stated "Free Elemis Reviving Kit". Underneath was an image of the kit and text that read "FREE ELEMIS REVIVING KIT...Free Elemis Revising Kit when you spend £80".
b. A listing for Bumble and Bumble (Care) Shampoo featured a red box with text that stated "Free Go Big Treatment 30ml + Pret a Powder". Underneath was an image of the powder and text that read "FREE GO BIG TREATMENT 30ML + PRET A POWDER...Receive a FREE Bumble and Bumble Go Big Treatment 30ml when you spend £30 and FREE Pret a Powder Tres Invisible 25ml when you spend £15 more".
The complainant, who placed orders exceeding the minimum amount but did not receive the complimentary items and was informed conditions applied to the offer, challenged whether the claims "FREE ELEMIS REVIVING KIT" and "FREE GO BIG TREATMENT 30ML + PRET A POWDER" were misleading.
The Hut.com Ltd t/a lookfantastic.com (The Hut) confirmed that in order for consumers to receive the free gifts in ads (a) and (b) they had to spend a minimum of a certain amount on the corresponding brand ‒ for example, £80 on Elemis products to receive the Elemis free gift. They accepted that this had not been communicated clearly in the ad and explained that this was likely due to a junior copywriter publishing the ads without carrying out the necessary checks to ensure they were compliant with the Code. They said that they had reiterated the internal approval process to their marketing team to prevent this from happening again.
In the absence of qualifying information, the ASA considered consumers were likely to understand the claims "Free Elemis Reviving Kit ... Free Elemis Reviving Kit when you spend £80" in ad (a) to mean that if they spent £80 or more on the lookfantastic.com website, regardless of which brands that £80 was spent on, they would receive a free Elemis Reviving Kit. We similarly considered that consumers were likely to understand the claim "Free Go Big Treatment 30ml + Pret a Powder … Receive a FREE Bumble and Bumble Go Big Treatment 30ml when you spend £30” in ad (b) to mean that if they spent £30 or more on the lookfantastic.com website, regardless of which brands that £30 was spent on, they would receive a free Go Big Treatment 30ml and a free Pret a Powder Tres Invisible 25ml.
We understood that when the consumer did not receive the free gifts, they contacted The Hut and was told that they had to spend the minimum amount of money stipulated in the ads on the specific brands in those ads to receive the related free gifts, namely Elemis and Bumble and Bumble. We noted that neither ad made it sufficiently clear that receipt of the free gifts was conditional upon consumers spending the minimum amount mentioned in the ads on the specific brands featured, which we considered would be a significant condition to the offers. Therefore, we concluded the ads were misleading.
The ads breached the CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 and 3.10 (Qualification), 8.17 and 8.17.1 (Significant conditions for promotions).
Ads (a) and (b) must not appear again in the form complained of. We told The Hut t/a lookfantastic.com that future promotions offering free gifts must make all significant conditions of the promotions sufficiently clear.