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B&Q ad complaint upheld by ASA

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Home & DIY retailer B&Q has been reprimanded by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) over a misleading advert within a brochure.

The ad, which appeared in March this year, detailed a sales promotion on kitchens, offering percentage discounts and free products when purchasing other items.

A complainant suggested that the advert was misleading as it did not state a closing date for the offer, and this complaint was upheld.

This news is a further knock for the retailer, which reported disappointing UK sales for Q2 that saw trading fall 6.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis in the 11 weeks to July 16th 2011.

These results were blamed on the closing down sales of failing competitor Focus DIY at a time when the home & DIY sector continues to struggle amid falling non-essential sales.

Responding to the complaint, B&Q pointed out that the CAP Code, run by a non-broadcast marketing communications company, allowed them to avoid specifying a closing date for an offer provided, and that doing so was not disadvantageous to the customer.

The retailer also stated that the promotion ran for five weeks, a significant period of time, and noted that the ad directed consumers to check online or visit a store for further details.

ASA noted B&Q’s response but acknowledged that at the time the ad appeared, B&Q did not know how long it would run.

Commenting on B&Q’s suggestion that the CAP Code was adhered to, ASA added: “We considered that the closing date was material information that was likely to affect a consumer’s decision on whether or not to make a purchase from B&Q.

“We considered that the ad omitted material information and that the complainant had been disadvantaged by the lack of it. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was misleading.”

ASA has therefore demanded that the ad must not appear again in its current form and that the retailer must ensure that it includes a closing date for sales promotions when known and where the promotional period is not known, prominent qualifying text must be included to direct consumers on how to find out more information about the closing date.

Another retailer to have been reprimanded by the ASA this week was bed specialist Dreams, which was said to have published a misleading national press advert earlier this year.

Published on Wednesday 31 August by Editorial Assistant

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