ASA Adjudication on Blakefield LLP
Blakefield LLP t/a
2 Station Road
27 June 2012
Number of complaints:
A national press ad for three books about money saving was headlined "Would you like £72.50 extra a week?". Large text in a circle stated "ALL 3 FOR JUST £14.95". The direct response coupon explained how to place an order and stated "One book - £9.95 All 3 books £14.95". It also invited readers to choose a free bonus book of either "Lose Weight With Vinegar" or "101 Ways to Beat Arthritis" but also offered readers the chance to receive both bonus books for an additional cost of £1.95.
A reader, who had previously taken up the offer, challenged whether the description of the bonus goods as "books" was misleading.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Blakefield LLP said the ad had appeared in error and that the bonus goods should have been described as booklets. However, they said the item called "101 Ways to Beat Arthritis" was a four-page leaflet. They agreed to refer to that as a leaflet in future advertising but said "Lose Weight with Vinegar" had 23 pages and therefore, it could be accurately described as a booklet.
The ASA noted the ad had appeared in error and that it should have described the bonus goods as booklets. We noted further that Blakefield were willing to describe "101 Ways to Beat Arthritis" as a leaflet and their view that "How to Lose Weight with Vinegar" could be described as a booklet because it only had 23 pages. We asked them to send us the bonus goods so that we could consider whether those descriptions were accurate, but they did not do so. We were, therefore, unable to judge whether those descriptions were appropriate. Although we had not seen the bonus goods, we considered, nevertheless, that the ad's description of them as "books" was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.11 (Exaggeration).
The ad must no longer appear in its current form. We told Blakefield not to describe the bonus goods as "books".