ASA Adjudication on Home Shopping Selections Ltd
Home Shopping Selections Ltd
2 November 2011
Number of complaints:
A national press ad for a Scratch Vanish Pen included the text "No more costly Scratch Repairs! The Instant Scratch Vanish Pen is the perfect solution to everyday scratches and marks that devalue and cheapen the look of your car. But it doesn't just cover up scratches - it eliminates them! The specialist formula fills scratch marks, seals them and protects from corrosion. What's more Scratch Vanish Pen can be used on any vehicle and any colour". The ad showed a 'before' image of scratched paintwork on a car door followed by an 'after' image which showed the same area with no visible scratches.
The complainant challenged whether the pictures in the ad exaggerated the efficacy of the product.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Home Shopping Selections Ltd (Home Shopping Selections) stated that the 'before' and 'after' photos that were used in the ad consisted of cropped close-up images of a generic car lock area and that it illustrated the kind of damage caused by incorrectly inserting the keys into the lock. They stated that the colour reproduction in some publications varied and the photos in some ads may therefore affect the consumers understanding of the exact results. However, they nonetheless believed that these types of inadvertent scratches could be quickly and expertly resolved with the Scratch Vanish Pen and stated that this was illustrated in the 'before' and 'after' photos. They stated the images were therefore an accurate representation of the benefits that could be achieved by using the product.
The ASA noted Home Shopping Selections' comments concerning the colour reproduction in certain ads and understood that this had resulted in a different appearance in the colour of paintwork between the 'before' and 'after' photos. However, we noted the 'after' images showed the paintwork had no scratches and considered that the average consumer would understand from the images and text that the product would completely remove scratches from a car's paintwork or make them invisible. We noted Home Shopping Selections had not provided documentary evidence that the 'after' image was an accurate representation of the likely results that could be achieved by the pen when used on car scratches. We considered that the efficacy implied by the 'before' and 'after' photographs had not been substantiated and therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad should not appear again in its current form. We told Home Shopping Selections to ensure they held documentary evidence to substantiate efficacy claims made in 'before' and 'after' photos.