ASA Adjudication on Arena Essex
The Old School
1 August 2012
Internet (on own site)
Number of complaints:
Summary of Council decision:
Two issues were investigated, both of which were Upheld.
Claims on www.car-boot-sale-essex.co.uk, a website for a car boot sale in Essex, stated "Essex [sic] Largest All Weather Hard Standing Boot Sale". The website also featured four photographs of car boot sales down the right-hand side of the home page.
The complainant, who had attended the event, challenged whether:
1. the claim "Essex [sic] Largest All Weather Hard Standing Boot Sale" was misleading and could be substantiated; and
2. the second, third and fourth images were misleading because they featured a different, larger car boot sale.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Arena Essex responded to the complaint verbally.
1. They told the ASA that they did not know whether their car boot sale was the largest all-weather hard standing car boot sale in Essex. They explained that their site stood on 90 acres and that they were free to use all of the land. The site had capacity for 6,000 cars. They believed it was for the ASA to disprove the claim, rather than for them to prove it.
2. Arena Essex did not know whether the images were of their own car boot sale.
The ASA understood that Arena Essex believed it was for the ASA to disprove the claim that they were "Essex [sic] Largest All Weather Hard Standing Boot Sale" but we disagreed. The Code required advertisers to hold adequate substantiation for advertising claims prior to publication and to provide this to the ASA during an investigation. We understood that Arena Essex did not know whether their car boot sale was the largest all-weather hard standing boot sale in Essex. We therefore concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.
On this point, the claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation), 3.11 (Exaggeration) and 3.38 (Other comparisons).
We understood that Arena Essex were unsure of whether the images were of their own car boot sale or another car boot sale. According to the complainant, the car boot sale had been on hard ground such as concrete, whereas the images shown were of a car boot sale on grass. In the absence of evidence to show that the images were of their event, we concluded that they were misleading.
On this point, the claim breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 (Misleading advertising).
The claim and images must not appear again in their current form. We reminded Arena Essex that they should not make objective claims in their advertising in future if they cannot substantiate them.