An ad for Vax’s Blade 2 Max vacuum cleaner, seen in the national press on 11 August 2019, stated "Proven to clean carpets better than the UK's top 10 bestselling cordless vacuums*". Smaller text beneath the headline claim stated "*Top-20 market data Jan-Dec 2018 (by sales volume), when tested on carpet according to IEC62885-2:2016 clause 5.3. Tested in Boost mode".
Dyson Ltd, who believed that the data on which the comparison was based was out of date because it did not include the Dyson V11 cordless vacuum introduced in March 2019, challenged whether the claim "Proven to clean carpets better than the UK's top 10 bestselling cordless vacuums" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Vax Ltd said that the tests on which the comparison was based were conducted in July 2018 and February 2019. They said the Dyson V11 entered into the annual top ten bestselling cordless vacuum cleaner list towards the end of 2019. Vax said that directly below the headline claim text stated that the claim was based on data from Jan?Dec 2018, which was the last full calendar year of test data available to them. They therefore believed it was clear to consumers the period of data that was relied on to make the claim.
Vax believed consumers would appreciate that the vacuum cleaner market was continually evolving. Given the reference to a 2018 dataset, they believed consumers would understand that the comparison would not include 2019 product models.
The ad featured the headline claim “Proven to clean carpets better than the UK's top 10 best selling cordless vacuums” followed by a prominent qualification directly below the claim, which stated “Top-20 market data Jan-Dec 2018 (by sales volume)”.
The ASA considered consumers would therefore understand from the ad that the product was more effective at cleaning carpets than the other nine highest selling cordless vacuum cleaners based on the total numbers of those cordless vacuum cleaners sold in 2018, and that it would not include models that were released in 2019. We acknowledged sales data from 2018 was the latest market data available for a full calendar year and we therefore assessed whether that data was still relevant as the basis of the comparison at the time the ad was published in August 2019. We understood that, since it was released on 27 March 2019, Dyson’s V11 product had consistently featured in monthly sales data as a top-ten bestselling cordless vacuum cleaner since April 2019 and that this would have been known to those in the industry. However, we considered the period of underlying market data used as the basis for the claim was sufficiently recent that it was still relevant, particularly given, we understood, that appliance testing had to take place in the intervening period.
Furthermore, we considered the period of market data underlying the claim was stated sufficiently prominently in the ad that it was clear to consumers what the comparison was based upon. Although we acknowledged the use of sales data from 2018 would not capture models of cordless vacuum cleaner released onto the market since then, because we considered consumers would be aware that was the case and because we considered the data on which the comparison was based was still relevant, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading adverting), 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) and 3.33 3.33 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an identifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer about either the advertised product or the competing product. (Comparisons with identifiable competitors), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.