Ad description

A website for Topman, a clothing retailer, seen on 14 February 2017. Text on the pages that advertised men’s jeans stated, “Selling Fast! This item has been added to bag 29 times today” and “HURRY, SELLING FAST!”.


The complainant, who believed that an item added to a bag did not always mean that item would be purchased, challenged whether the claims “selling fast” and “hurry selling fast”, were misleading and could be substantiated.


Top Shop/Top Man Ltd t/a Topman said that like other retailers, they watched and monitored information which they endeavoured to share with their customers to inform their shopping experience. They said that one way they chose to do this was by highlighting the most popular 250 products out of the 4,000–5,000 products available for sale on the website, at any one time by using the messaging which featured in the ad.

Topman said that they utilised a digital tool that identified the fastest selling products, by counting all products that consumers added to their bag while on the website, measured over a 72-hour period. For the 250 products which were added to bag most frequently, the ad would be displayed. The top 250 products were recalculated every 24 hours and the number of times that a product was added to bag in the last 24 hours was displayed in the ad.

Topman said that there was a high correlation between the products that were most frequently added to bag, and the products most frequently purchased. In the 72 hours prior to the date the ad was seen by the complainant, of the top 250 products added to bag, 204 products also featured in the top 250 products purchased. The remaining 46 products, which did not feature in the top 250 products purchased, were all within approximately the top 550 products purchased, which put them in the top 10% fastest selling products on the website. Topman also provided documentary evidence to support this in the form of a report using digital analytics.


Not upheld

The ASA considered that consumers were likely to understand that a product that had been added to bag had a greater chance of being purchased, than one that had not been added to bag, because it had been appraised as potentially suitable by the customer. Consumers would therefore interpret the claims, “selling fast, this item has been added to bag 29 times today” and “hurry selling fast” to mean that there was high demand for the product in question, as indicated by the frequency of the product being added to bag. However, we also considered that consumers would understand that a product being added to bag was not a definite indicator that the product would be purchased. A customer could change their mind about purchasing a product for a variety of reasons and so remove an item added to bag, or leave it in the bag without ever purchasing it.

The report provided by Topman, ranked against each other the products added to bag and the orders of that product, over a 72-hour period. One outcome was that the product which was ranked number one for being added to bag was also ranked number one for the product ordered. While we noted some divergence in correlation over the 250 products which were ranked, we considered that overall, Topman were able to demonstrate a significant correlation between the products that were most added to bag and those products which were subsequently purchased. We also understood that the recalculation of the top 250 products every 24 hours meant that the figures displayed in the ad would generally be accurate.

We therefore concluded that the claims in the ad were not misleading and had been substantiated.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.31 (Availability) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.3     3.31     3.7    

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