A website, www.thecsc.co.uk, seen in May 2016, promoted a variety of different shoe brands. Under the "Fitflops" section, the site offered the "FF2 Womens [sic] Super Navy F-Pop Opul Ballerinas" for £48.26, on discount from £134.58. The product listing also featured an image of the product.
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that the products were genuine Fitflop shoes, because having purchased a pair, she understood that was not the case.
thecsc.co.uk did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by thecsc.co.uk’s lack of substantive response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 1.7 1.7 Any unreasonable delay in responding to the ASA's enquiries will normally be considered a breach of the Code. (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a substantive response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We noted that the product listing appeared under the ‘Fitflops’ section of the site and included an image of the product and a model number. In that context, we considered that consumers were likely to believe that the products were genuine Fitflop shoes. In the absence of any evidence to show that that was the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
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), 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), 3.41 3.41 Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer about who manufactures the product. and 3.43 3.43 Marketing communications must not take unfair advantage of the reputation of a competitor's trade mark, trade name or other distinguishing mark or of the designation of origin of a competing product. (Imitation and denigration).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We referred the matter to CAP’s Compliance team.