A circular for a clothing collection service stated "CLOTHING COLLECTION. Can you spare your old unwanted clothes? Not everyone and especially young families can afford to buy new, often expensive clothes, shoes and household things. We would be grateful if you would kindly donate Ladies & Gents, Children's clothing ... Your donations are sent to the third world countries to help clothe the poor. Our company provides jobs in the sorting of clothes for distribution. It provides business for the UK export and transport companies. It provides employment for the UK factories grading the clothes and people collecting the bags door to door. Many Thanks from V.E.N.M COLLECTION Ltd. Company Number 9689265."
The complainant, who believed that the ad implied that the marketer was a charity rather than a commercial organisation, challenged whether it was misleading.
VENM Collections Ltd did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.
The ASA was concerned by VENM Collection's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded them of their responsibility to provide a response to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.
We considered that the text in the main body copy, which stated "Not everyone and especially young families can afford to buy new, often expensive clothes, shoes and household things", "kindly donate" and "YOUR DONATIONS ARE SENT TO THE THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES TO HELP CLOTHE THE POOR", implied that items given would be distributed to those in need and gave the overall impression that the circular was from a charitable organisation. Whilst we noted the small print which stated the company's name and registration number, and stated the company provided jobs and business opportunities, we considered that contradicted the overall impression given by the circular. For those reasons, we considered the circular was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession; marketing communications must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context.
(Recognition of marketing communications),
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 referred the matter to the CAP Compliance team.