UK: ASA Adjudications Snapshot - December 2009

Last Updated: 2 February 2010
Article by Susan Barty and Susie Carr

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from December and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications.

This month, the ASA particularly considered high performance health and beauty claims, significant conditions in sales promotions, and the need for careful targeting of potentially offensive advertising messages and visual images.

To view the article in full, please see below:



Full Article

This article provides a selection of the most interesting ASA adjudications from December and a summary of the key issues considered in the adjudications.

This month, the ASA particularly considered high performance health and beauty claims, significant conditions in sales promotions, and the need for careful targeting of potentially offensive advertising messages and visual images.

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

1. Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd, 2 December 2009 (robust substantiation required for high-performance health claim)

2. AMI Clinic Ltd, 2 December 2009 (sensitive placement of potentially offensive advertising messages)

3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation t/a PETA, 16 December 2009 (offensiveness complaints considered in context of the ad's aim to resolve genuine issue of concern)

4. One Week Health Ltd, 23 December 2009 (dieting claims)

FOOD AND DRINK

5. Kentucky Fried Chicken t/a KFC, 9 December 2009 (on-screen text correcting otherwise misleading impression)

6. Unilever UK Ltd, 16 December 2009 (healthy heart claims)

ALCOHOL

7. Barcardi-Martini Ltd, 2 December 2009 (associating alcohol with enhanced attractiveness)

OTHER

8. Fat Face Ltd, 2 December 2009 (use of animals in ads and safety equipment)

9. EasyJet Airline Co Ltd, 16 December 2009 (significant conditions in sales promotions must be made clear)

10. Virgin Media Television Ltd, 16 December 2009 ("gingerism" complaints upheld)

11. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK, 16 December 2009 (gratuitous offensive imagery)

12. British Airways plc, 23 December 2009 (importance of visuals and voiceover in creating a misleading impression)

13. Play Ltd t/a Play.com, 23 December 2009 (sales promotions for selected products and "click-through" internet links)

HEALTH AND BEAUTY

1. Lloyds Pharmacy Ltd, 2 December 2009

A TV ad for a light therapy device included the following voiceover: "Hay fever seasons are here again. But here's something you might not have tried before, the Lloyds Pharmacy hay fever reliever. It's been shown to help reduce symptoms like your runny nose and itchy eyes.... Just pop it up your nose for a couple of minutes two or three times a day and start making the most of your summer".

Complaint/decision

A complainant challenged whether the efficacy claims in the ad were misleading and could be substantiated.

Lloyds argued that they had commissioned an independent clinical trial on the device, which concluded that it "significantly reduced the main symptoms of hay fever". Lloyds therefore believed that it had obtained adequate, objective evidence to support the efficacy claims and so they were not misleading to viewers.

As is common in health and beauty claims, the ASA took expert advice. Whilst the ASA's expert acknowledged that the study came from a credible source and was published in an internationally recognised peer review journal, he also considered the study to have several methodological limitations. In particular, he noted that the study was conducted outside of the pollen season and so it was difficult to extrapolate the findings to the real conditions of the hay fever season. The expert further noted that the study was restricted to the effect of the device on adults, and that there was no evidence of whether the effect of the device would last beyond 14 days. This limitation was significant as, in a real scenario, many hay fever sufferers would wish to use the device over a period of four to five months.

The ASA acknowledged the expert's doubts in relation to the study and, in particular, noted that the study did not show the device to be effective on "itchy eyes", as claimed in the ad. The ASA therefore concluded that there was ad was misleading.
This adjudication is a further example of the strict approach which the ASA will often take on health and beauty claims. This decision highlights that, in some cases, even credible studies published in internationally recognised and peer-reviewed journals may not be considered sufficiently robust evidence to substantiate high performance health claims. Advertisers should exercise caution if the clinical studies that they are relying on have not made satisfactory attempts to replicate real-life circumstances and they should also limit claims to reflect the limitations of the study.

2. AMI Clinic Ltd, 2 December 2009

A poster for AMI Clinic prominently stated, "MAKING LOVE? DO IT....LONGER".

Complaint/decision

Eight complainants objected that the ad was offensive and unsuitable for public display, particularly where it could be seen by children. A further four complainants objected to the placement of the ad near schools where it could be seen by children.

The ASA considered that the ad did not contain any swear words, suggestive images or explicit material. Whilst the ASA considered that some readers may find the reference to "MAKING LOVE" offensive, the ASA also noted that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to adults, and young children were unlikely to understand the sexual reference. The ASA therefore concluded that, subject to sensitive placement, the ad was acceptable for public display.

In relation to the second complaint, the ASA emphasised the importance of sensitive placement of the ad and the need to pay particular regard to schools and sites of religious worship. AMI explained that it was a condition of all bookings that media owners would not place the poster within 100m or schools or any religious buildings; however in this instance some media owners had breached this restriction. Whilst the ASA welcomed AMI 's assurance that they would take steps to monitor the placement of posters in future, the complaints were upheld in this instance.

This adjudication highlights the importance of sensitive placement of advertising messages that may otherwise be deemed offensive or unsuitable for public display. It also serves as a reminder to advertisers that they have overall responsibility for the placement of the ad and the ASA will expect advertisers to take proactive steps to ensure that any restrictions are being complied with, for example conducting independent checks of billboard locations where appropriate.

3. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Foundation t/a PETA, 16 December 2009

A campaign poster featured a picture of a man who appeared to have breasts, alongside the tag-line: "Dude looks like a lady? Lose the breasts. Go vegetarian".

Complaint/decision

Two complainants believed the ad misleadingly implied that the appearance of breasts in men was solely a result of poor diet and obesity. They argued that the man featured could be suffering from gynaecomastia, which cannot be cured by dieting. Two further complainants felt the ad was offensive and insensitive to sufferers of gynaecomastia.

PETA explained that the man in the ad was obese and was not known to suffer from gynaecomastia. PETA explained that the ad was intended to warn men that a diet rich in meat, eggs and dairy products could lead to obesity and the development of unwanted breast tissue.

The ASA noted the ad's emphasis on improving diet and believed that readers were likely to understand the ad in the context of the negative impact that obesity could have on human bodies, rather than as an insensitive reference to sufferers of gynaecomastia. The ASA also considered that there was nothing in the ad that implied that poor diet was the sole cause of the development of male breast tissue and so the ad was unlikely to mislead in this regard. Whilst the ASA appreciated that many readers may find the ad distasteful, they concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

This somewhat surprising adjudication demonstrates that the ASA can take a more lenient approach towards potentially offensive advertising messages, particularly where the ad is intended to tackle issues of genuine concern and the context of the ad is likely to be clear to readers. The adjudication did not challenge whether PETA could substantiate the claims made.

4. One Week Health Ltd, 23 December 2009

A TV ad and two internet banner ads for the "One Week" diet system, which consists of a meal replacement product and moderate exercise, all featured images of the product alongside pictures of women, who had apparently used the product, dressed in bikinis. All of the ads included prominent and repeated references to the product name: "One Week".

The TV ad included the text, "With One Week, in combination with proper diet and exercise, you could lose weight one week at a time...One Week is completely safe and has natural ingredients....Can only help as part of a calorie controlled diet".
One of the banners featured the text, "Megan lost 30lbs with One Week!".

Complaint/decision

There were a number of consumer complaints in relation to the safety and social responsibility of the ads. The ASA also challenged the efficacy of the product. The ASA upheld the complaints in relation to the efficacy of the product, as One Week were unable to provide sufficiently robust evidence to substantiate their high performance health claims. However, none of the viewers' complaints were upheld.

The ASA considered that, despite the prominent product name, the overall message in the ads would make it clear to readers that the weight loss achieved was through a continuous programme of losing weight "one week at a time" and could not be achieved within just one week.

The ASA also considered that, despite the small risk of some individuals having an adverse reaction to particular ingredients, the meal replacement product was "completely safe" when used as directed.

Further, One Week did not offer free trials and all customers were required to pay with a credit card to help avoid orders from under 18s. As such, the ASA considered that One Week had taken appropriate precautions to protect young people and the ad was not socially irresponsible.

This decision provides some useful guidance in relation to the steps that the ASA may expect advertisers to take in order to ensure that dieting products are carefully targeted at adults.

FOOD AND DRINK

5. Kentucky Fried Chicken t/a KFC, 9 December 2009

A TV ad for KFC featured a young man carrying a tray of chicken on the bone and battering it with flour before placing it on a wire tray. He explained, "The secret to producing the best food is using the right ingredients. Like this chicken, came in fresh this morning. Well, this is what it is about. Preparing a fresh chicken by hand. Yeah, it's a lot of effort, but if a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well....".

Pieces of cooked breaded chicken were shown being taken off a wire tray, poured into a KFC bucket and pushed through onto the KFC counter for customers to eat. An accompanying voiceover stated, "KFC. Fresh, on the bone chicken, every store, every day". Simultaneous on-screen text stated, "Minimum 3 deliveries a week".

Complaint/decision

Nine complainants believed that the ad was misleading because the overall impression that chicken was delivered daily was contradicted, rather than clarified, by the on-screen text.

A previous adverse ASA adjudication on the ad had concluded that it gave the misleading impression that fresh chicken was delivered daily. Following that adjudication, KFC added the on-screen text, "Minimum 3 deliveries a week" but made no other changes to the ad.

The ASA concluded that the additional on-screen text made clear that chicken on the bone, that was fresh and not frozen, was available every day in every store and was delivered to stores at least three times a week.

This adjudication highlights the ability of on-screen text to clarify an otherwise misleading message. However, although KFC managed to persuade the ASA that this was not an issue in this case, advertisers should still exercise caution where text may be seen to contradict the main claims in an ad.

6. Unilever UK Ltd, 16 December 2009

A TV ad featuring Gloria Hunniford promoted the website Floraheartage.com in conjunction with the Flora pro.activ range. Ms Hunniford stated, "....Go to floraheartage.com. tell them just a few things about yourself and they'll work out your heart age for you. It's a good measure of how healthy your heart is". The website address and the words "age", "blood pressure" and "diabetes" flashed on screen.

Complaint/decision

Complainants challenged whether the claim "it's a good measure of how healthy your heart is" could be substantiated because they did not believe the heart age website was operated by medically trained professionals. They also believed that the website would always produce enhanced ages to scare vulnerable consumers into purchasing the Flora pro.activ range.

The ASA did not uphold either of these complaints. The 'Heart Age Tool' had been developed by scientists with expertise in the area of cardiovascular disease and functioned automatically by calculating heart age based on user's responses to questions about their heart health, age, weight, smoking and high blood pressure. Whilst the ASA appreciated that the online tool was not manned by trained professionals, they also considered that internet users were unlikely to expect that the tool would be produce a highly personalised heart profile by a medically trained professional. Reasonable users would infer that it was an automatic online tool that could give a general indication of an individual's heart health and the risk factors that may affect this. In this context, the ASA concluded that the claim, "it's a good measure of how healthy your heart is" was unlikely to mislead consumers.

The ASA also conducted their own tests and were satisfied that the Heart Age Tool was genuinely based on relevant cardiovascular risk factors and did not always produce enhanced ages, as alleged by the viewers who complained. The ASA therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead in this regard.

This adjudication demonstrates that the ASA will conduct its own checks on the products/services advertised if deemed inappropriate. They will also consider the precise language of the claims. In this case, the use of "a good measure" was found to be suggestive of a general indication of heart health, rather than a full and complete analysis of heart health.

ALCOHOL

7. Barcardi-Martini Ltd, 2 December 2009

An email advertising a promotional event at the Pitcher & Piano bar had the subject heading, "STAY BEAUTIFUL WITH MARTINI". The body of the email featured the logos of Pitcher & Piano and Martini and stated, "MARTINI HAVE JOINED WITH PITCHER & PIANO DIDSBURY TO BRING YOU AN EVENING OF BEAUTY, WITH COMPLIMENTATY SAMPLES OF THE FABULOUS SUMMER ROSE AND OPPORTUNITIES TO PAMPER YOURSELF WITH GREAT BEAUTY PRIZES".

Complaint/Decision

A complainant challenged whether the email irresponsibly implied that alcohol could increase attractiveness.

Pitcher & Piano argued that the email was part of a sophisticated ad campaign that targeted women aged between 25 and 34 years and was not intended to suggest alcohol enhances attractiveness or sexual success. Pitcher & Piano believed that the tagline, "STAY BEAUTIFUL" reinforced the message that the women were just as beautiful at the end of the evening as they were at the start and that the ad encouraged the recipients of the email to "stay beautiful" by remaining in control and not damaging their image by drinking to excess.

However, the ASA considered that the subject heading of the email, "STAY BEAUTIFUL WITH MARTINI" made no reference to the beauty evening. Further, the first claim in the body text of the email was, "STAY BEAUTIFUL", which appeared next to the Martini logo without any reference to the context of the beauty evening. The ASA therefore considered that readers would not become aware of the context of the beauty evening until they read the smaller text at the end of the email, which again appeared under the prominent heading, "STAY BEAUTIFUL WITH MARTINI".

The ASA concluded that the heading, "STAY BEAUTIFUL" would always be problematic on its own without context. Even in this specific case, where the context was an invitation to a beauty evening, the context was not sufficiently prominent to remove the overall impression of the ad that Martini could help the recipients of the email to "stay beautiful". The ASA therefore concluded that the email irresponsibly implied that alcohol could enhance attractiveness.

Alcohol advertising is always an area in which the ASA will interpret the rules strictly. This is particularly so in relation to any suggestion that alcohol might improve attractiveness. In this ad, it was perhaps not surprising that the ASA considered it to fall foul of the Code.

OTHER

8. Fat Face Ltd, 2 December 2009

A leaflet for a clothing company included a picture of a man riding a horse. He was pulling tightly on the reins and the horse's head was being pulled upwards, its teeth bared and eyes rolled partially back into its head.

Complaint/decision

The ASA received 29 complaints that the ads were offensive and irresponsible on the basis that the horse appeared to be in distress. The majority of these complainants also believed that the ads condoned and encouraged unsafe practices, as the rider was not wearing a hat.

Fat Face explained that the horse had not been hurt during the photo shoot, but voluntarily withdrew the ad to avoid any further upset to readers. The ASA concluded that the image was likely to cause serious offence, as the horse did appear somewhat distressed. Further, the ASA considered that the ad condoned unsafe practices, as failure to wear a hat is contrary to generally accepted safety advice.

This adjudication reminds advertisers of the need to exercise caution when using animals in their advertisement campaigns. It also demonstrates the importance of dressing individuals appropriately when they are engaging in activities that may require safety equipment such as sports or driving cars.

However, interestingly, this adjudication contrasts somewhat with the ASA's pragmatic approach to a Coca-Cola Great Britain ad in June 2009 (see our ASA Snapshot June 2009) (www.law-now.com/law-now/2009/asasnapjul09.htm), which featured the singer Duffy riding a bicycle through empty streets at night. A significant number of viewers had challenged whether the ad condoned behaviour prejudicial to health and safety, because Duffy was not wearing reflective clothing and did not have lights on her bicycle. Despite the high value of complaints, the ASA concluded the ad was not irresponsible as it was clearly based in fantasy and was unlikely to be seen as a realistic scenario suitable for emulation.

9. EasyJet Airline Co Ltd, 16 December 2009

An online sales promotion for discounted flights featured an image of an ice lolly and stated, "Up to 20% off every seat, every route, every day. Includes August summer holidays. Book by midnight Tuesday." A booking enquiry form appeared next to the promotion. Similar claims were made in a radio ad, but did not say "up to".

Complaint/decision

One complainant challenged whether the online ad was misleading, because the travel dates to which the promotion applied were not apparent from the ad and should have been clearly stated.

Another complainant challenged whether the radio ad misleadingly implied that there was a reduction off all seats on all flights during the offer period stated, as he understood that the promotional offer was "up to" 20% off rather than "20% off".

The ASA separately challenged whether both ads were misleading because they did not make clear that, although discounted, prices could rise during the promotional period.

The ASA upheld all of the complaints, for the reasons given below.

First, the ASA acknowledged Easyjet's argument that the travel period to which the online ad applied was clear from the creative treatment of the promotion, for example the text "includes August summer holidays" and the image of an ice lolly which, Easyjet argued, was a clear visual indication of a summer sale. However, whilst the ASA considered that most customers would understand that the offer would be valid for a limited time only, they concluded that consumers were unlikely to understand that the references to 'summer' related to the particular travel dates to which the offer applied.

The ASA further noted that Easyjet's ad had not been limited by space and did not include a "click-through" link for significant information relating to the offer. It would therefore be possible for customers to book tickets directly from Easyjet's home page without being made aware of the travel dates for which the offer applied. The ASA therefore concluded that ad's omission of the travel dates was misleading to consumers. This adjudication highlights the importance of ensuring that significant conditions of a promotion are clearly identified in any ads, particularly in cases where there are no space restrictions.

Secondly, the ASA noted that the words "up to" 20% had been omitted from the radio ad in error and had now been included. Nonetheless, the ASA upheld the complaint on this basis, as customers who had heard the original ad would have been misinformed.

The ASA also upheld their own complaints, in relation to Easyjet's failure to disclose that, although discounted, prices may still rise towards the end of the promotional period due to increased demand and customers may actually pay more for their flight than if they had booked their tickets in the period immediately before the promotion began. The ASA noted that it was possible for customers to book tickets without being made aware of this significant pricing information. The phrase "conditions apply" did not go far enough to alert customers to the unusual pricing structure of the promotion and this should have been made clearer to consumers.

This adjudication highlights the need to ensure that significant conditions are made clear to consumers. It is not sufficient for significant pricing information to be made available to consumers on a "click-through" internet link if it is possible for consumers to purchase the product without accessing this information.

10. Virgin Media Television Ltd, 16 December 2009

An ad for a TV dating show stated, "'How do you spot a ginger in the dark?'...LOOKS OR PERSONALITY WHO WINS?"

Complaint/decision

Three complainants objected that the ad was offensive to people with ginger hair, because they believed it implied those people were unattractive.

Virgin explained that the ad was not intended to cause offence, rather to promote harmlessly a dating programme that aimed to challenge peoples' perceptions of attractiveness and encourage decisions based on personality as well as looks. The ad was part of a wider campaign including taglines such as, "He says he works in radio. I just hope he doesn't have the face for it". Virgin emphasised that the use of quotation marks showed that the remark was made by a participant and did not represent the view of the advertiser. Whilst Virgin said they were prepared not to use the ad again, they maintained that it was not offensive to readers.

The Metro, the newspaper in which the ad was published, also believed that the ad was suitable for publication and was unlikely to offend their target audience of young, intelligent professionals.

Nonetheless, the ASA noted that the ad referred to "a ginger" and stated, "...LOOKS OR PERSONALITY WHO WINS?" In the context of the other ads in the campaign, the ASA believed that the ad would be interpreted as a choice between looks and personality and, therefore, a clear suggestion that people with ginger hair were unattractive. The ASA further considered that, because the ad did not make clear the nature of the show, it was unclear to viewers that the text in quotation marks was the view of a participant in the show and not the advertiser.

The ASA concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen as light hearted in tone and was, therefore, likely to be considered prejudicial against people with ginger hair.

This adjudication contrasts with the somewhat lenient approach taken towards an Npower ad in 2000, which featured a miserable looking ginger haired child sat with his ginger haired parents alongside the prominent tag-line, "There are some things in life you can't choose". Despite receiving over 200 complaints, the ASA dismissed the ad as merely "light-hearted humour".

The recent adjudication against Virgin could suggest that the ASA are toughening up on negative remarks about stereotypes. Perhaps this demonstrates a response by the ASA to wider concerns about bullying. However, the key message arising from this decision is for advertisers to consider carefully whether any potentially offensive advertising messages are genuinely light-hearted in overall tone, as the ASA are likely to strictly enforce the Code in instances where the tone lacks humour and the ad seems to demonstrate unfair prejudice against particular groups.

11. Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures UK, 16 December 2009

An internet ad for the film 'Adventureland' showed the torso of a woman wearing a white T-shirt bearing the film's title. On-screen text at the bottom of the screen stated, "Lift my shirt to see more. Click and drag up with your mouse". If users followed the on-screen instructions, the woman removed her T-shirt revealing that she was naked underneath, with a large black rectangle covering her breasts. The film trailer was then displayed.

Complaint/decision

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive because it encouraged users to lift the woman's shirt in a voyeuristic manner; and that the ad was inappropriately located on the Yahoo! News page where it could easily be seen by children.

The ASA considered that users would initially infer from the ad that, in lifting the T-shirt, they would reveal the woman's breasts, as encouraged by the on-screen instructions. Although the woman's breasts were covered by a black rectangle, this was not apparent until the user had already taken the action and so the ad appeared to encourage users to lift a woman's top in order to see her breasts. Whilst the ASA appreciated that the film was about the experiences of a teenage boy, it noted that removing the woman's top had no direct link to the content of the film and was, therefore, gratuitous. In this context, the ASA considered that the ad would cause offence to some users.

The ASA noted Yahoo!'s assertion that the audience of their news page was predominantly over 18 years of age. However, they considered that the site was of general interest and was likely to appeal to a broad range of users. The ASA concluded that the ad was unsuitable for children and that Walt Disney had not taken satisfactory steps to ensure that the ad was appropriately targeted. The ad was therefore found to be in breach of the Code on the grounds of social irresponsibility.

This adjudication demonstrates the ASA taking a strict approach towards offensive imagery, particularly in instances where there is no direct link to the advertised product and there has not been sufficient age verification or targeting to ensure that children are adequately protected.

12. British Airways plc, 23 December 2009

A TV ad for British Airways showed street scenes of Guangzhou and preparations being made at an indoor venue, which a voice-over identified as the Canton Fair; an event that would see two billion dollars worth of trade every day. The voice-over continued, "Right now, somewhere in the world, is a great business opportunity. And no one can fly you to more of them, direct from the UK, than British Airways".

Complaint/decision

A viewer challenged whether the ad was misleadingly implied that British Airways flew direct from the UK to Guangzhou, where the Canton Fair was held.

British Airways explained that the ad was part of their 'World of Opportunities Campaign', which featured a number of events that customers could experience such as Mumbai Fashion Week and the Serengeti wildebeest migration. They claimed that the campaign was not intended to promote a specific route, but to demonstrate the diversity of events that took place all over the world and the fact that British Airways flew to more destinations direct from the UK than any other airline. They stated that the ad made no reference to any specific route between the UK and Guangzhou, indeed they believed that a direct flight would not be possible with any airline. However, British Airways offered flights to Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai, where connections to Guangzhou could be made.

Whilst the ASA noted that connections were possible from other cities to which British Airways flew, they considered reasonable consumers were likely to interpret the emphasis on the Canton Fair, coupled with the clear reference to "direct" flights, to mean that direct flights were possible. Therefore the ad was considered misleading.

This adjudication is perhaps not surprising, but reminds advertisers of the importance of visuals and voice-overs in creating a misleading impression.

13. Play Ltd t/a Play.com, 23 December 2009

An email from Play.com was headlined, "Everything Under £5 - 1000s of deals". The body text of the email stated, "....FREE DELIVERY ON EVERYTHING...1000s of deals under £5 CLICK HERE...". A disclaimer at the foot of the email stated, "...Play.com reserve the right to change prices. Check website for availability and pricing".

The email also featured click-through links with general category headings such as "COMPUTING" "MUSIC", and "CLOTHING". These headings were accompanied by several images including a web-cam, a Girls Aloud CD and two T-shirts.

Complaint/decision

Two complainants challenged whether the email, and particularly the repeated reference to "everything", was misleading as they understood that the £5 offer only applied to selected items.

Play.com stated that they had used the prominent headline, "Everything Under £5 - 1000s of deals" to indicate to consumers that the offer only applied to selected items and not the entire website, which they explained contained in the region of 11 million products. Play.com further argued that UK customers were sufficiently familiar with internet offers to know that a "CLICK HERE" link denotes that the details of the offer will be found by following the link.

The ASA acknowledged Play.com's argument that the email was intended to alert recipients to a promotion in which all items were genuinely priced at under £5 and that the "CLICK HERE" link was intended to direct interested customers to a section of the website where every product was priced at under £5. However, the ASA considered that the overall presentation of the email was ambiguous and could lead consumers to believe that everything on the entire site was available for under £5. In particular, the ASA considered that the inclusion of links to Play.com's general categories such as "BOOKS" and "MUSIC" (which directed the consumer to non-promotional items) and the prominent statement "FREE DELIVERY ON EVERYTHING" were misleading to consumers.

The ASA noted Play.com's argument that reasonable consumers would understand that some items, such as those within the "computing" category, were unlikely to be offered at £5. Nonetheless, the ASA concluded that the repeated references to "everything" throughout the ad and the inclusion of links to the entire Play.com product range failed to satisfactorily clarify that the offer only applied to selected products and not "everything" on the website.

This adjudication demonstrates that advertisers must make it clear if a promotion is only available on selected products. This will be particularly important where the headline claim uses wording which would ordinarily imply that it applies to all products, such as, "everything" or "all products". A "click-through" link to the specific details of the promotion is unlikely to be considered sufficient to achieve this, particularly in cases where there are bold or ambiguous pricing claims. Internet advertisers should also clearly distinguish between "click-through" links that direct the consumer to details of the promotional offer and any other general links to the advertiser's website which may direct the consumer to non-promotional items.

This article was written for Law-Now, CMS Cameron McKenna's free online information service. To register for Law-Now, please go to www.law-now.com/law-now/mondaq

Law-Now information is for general purposes and guidance only. The information and opinions expressed in all Law-Now articles are not necessarily comprehensive and do not purport to give professional or legal advice. All Law-Now information relates to circumstances prevailing at the date of its original publication and may not have been updated to reflect subsequent developments.

The original publication date for this article was 29/01/2010.

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We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.