Claims on www.zavvi.com, seen on 27 February 2016, promoted a Blu-ray collection. Text stated, "Farscape Universe Collection Megabook - Zavvi Exclusive (Limited to 1000 Copies) Blu-ray". In the product description, text stated, "A numbered certificate signed by Brian Henson - highlighting the nature of the limited release - just 1,000 units of each format".
The complainant challenged whether the claim "A numbered certificate signed by Brian Henson" was misleading, because they believed it implied the signature would be an original, when they understood it was a copy.
The Hut.com Ltd t/a Zavvi said the ad did not state that the signature on the certificate was original and they did not consider it reasonable to infer that from the ad. They said it was important to note that each certificate had its own unique number, which helped validate the limited edition nature of the product.
The ASA noted that the ad did not state whether the signature included on the certificate was an original. However, the claim stated that the product included a certificate “signed by Brian Henson”, rather than that it simply included Brian Henson’s signature. In addition, the claim was followed by text stating that the signed certificate highlighted the nature of the limited release. We considered that including an original signature would limit the number of products available in a way that including a copy of a signature would not. For those reasons, we considered consumers were likely to interpret the claim to mean that it had been personally signed.
We understood, however, that the signature was a copy rather than an original. Because the claim was likely to be interpreted to mean that the signature was original, and that was not the case, we concluded that the claim "signed by Brian Henson" was misleading.
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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told The Hut.com Ltd to make clear where a signature was not an original.