A product listing for a headband from Zacharia Jewellers, seen on www.amazon.com in September 2018, stated "Zac's Alter Ego Faux Fur Pom Pom Headband", alongside an image of the product.
Humane Society International, who understood that the pom poms were real fur, challenged whether the ad was misleading.
Zacharia Jewellers said they had been informed when they bought the products in China that they were faux fur. They said they were shocked to learn that they contained real fur and had taken down the listing from Amazon and removed the product from their website.
The ad stated “Faux Fur Pom Pom Headband”. The ASA considered that consumers would understand this to mean that the item did not contain real animal fur. We noted that Humane Society International had purchased a sample of the product. They had commissioned a test report from an independent textiles analysis expert, which was provided to the ASA. The report stated that sample had been identified microscopically by detailed examination and comparison with authentic reference samples, and included detailed notes on the shape and texture of the fibres. The results reported that the “faux fur” from the sample was real animal fur, most likely rabbit.
We acknowledged that Zacharia Jewellers had removed the product from sale following receipt of the complaint. However, given that we had seen evidence that the product obtained by Humane Society International contained real animal fur, we concluded that the ad was misleading and breached the Code.
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) and 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).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained about. We told Zacharia Jewellers not to state that products included “faux fur”, if that was not the case.