Complaints against some print and TV ads produced by retailers Waitrose, Laura Ashley and Specsavers have been upheld by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), it was confirmed today.
Aspects of national press ads from Laura Ashley and Specsavers and parts of a TV ad and press ad from Waitrose were deemed to be misleading by the government organisation.
The complaint against Waitrose centred around a campaign fronted by Delia Smith which promoted a Christmas Cake Pack that claimed to contain “all the ingredients” need to create the dessert.
Various items needed to produce the cake such as the stock ingredients of eggs, butter, milk and oil and additional ingredients like lemon zest, marzipan, icing, alcohol and edible cake decorations were not included in the deal.
An ASA statement read: “The cake was shown iced and decorated in both the press ad and the TV ad, and we considered that consumers would therefore expect that the pack included the icing, marzipan and cake decoration necessary to complete the cake as shown.
“Because the ads did not make clear that additional ingredients were also required to produce the featured cake, we concluded that the ads were misleading.”
Various complaints were made by David Ormerod Hearing Centre Ltd, trading as Boots Hearingcare, against a promotion by Specsavers claiming that “At Specsavers, the price of all our hearing aids includes everything you need. At Boots, it doesn’t”.
The ASA concluded that the Specsavers ad made misleading comparisons, ignored discounts offered by Boots, and that its offer to save customers £168 in batteries was miscalculated.
Finally, a Laura Ashley ad which offered “25 per cent off everything” was inaccurate and likely to be misunderstood by readers despite a disclaimer at the bottom of the piece.
“We considered that excluding “Guardsman Protector: carpet fittings and underlay, discounted/marked down items, gift cards and delivery charges” from the sale was a significant restriction to the offer, and therefore considered that the small print contradicted rather than clarified the offer,” the ASA judgment read.
“Because we considered the small print contradicted rather than clarified the offer, we concluded the ad was misleading.”
All of the retailers have been disallowed from reproducing the adverts in their previous form, and Laura Ashley has been told to avoid the word ‘everything’ in promotions unless it applies to all of its products.