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Product: Miscellaneous (flashlights)
Medium: Internet (Third Party Website)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.3, 3.10, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The advertisement which appeared on various websites featured a picture of a woman pointing a flashlight at an intruder and read as follows:
Should this flashlight be banned?
This Military Flashlight could prevent the next mass shooting”.
The second advertisement focussed on the same scene and referred to the following:
“Should this flashlight be banned?
This Military Flashlight could prevent the next mass shooting.
Why is this high powered flashlight selling out so fast?”
The third advertisement featured an image of the flashlight and referred to the following:
“Should this military grade flashlight be banned?
This new LED military grade technology might be banned from the public. It’s now selling at 75% off retail value, grab one now before they’re gone!”
The complainant challenged whether the advertising could be misleading. He queried how a flashlight could possibly prevent the next mass shooting. He also considered it to be irresponsible on the part of the advertisers to link a flashlight to guns.
The complainant said he considered that the advertisers were trying to instil a matter of urgency in purchasing the product as the inference was that it may be banned. He also said that it was misleading on the advertisers’ part to refer to the fact that they were offering “75% off retail value” as this only applied to those who purchased five units of the product.
The advertisers did not respond to the complaint.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and expressed their concern at the advertisers’ failure to respond to the complaint. They reminded them that there is an onus on advertisers to ensure that their advertising is in conformity with the Code.
In the absence of a response from the advertisers the Committee concluded that the overall impression created by the advertising was likely to mislead consumers and in the circumstances upheld the complaint under Sections 3.3, 3.10, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4 4.9 and 4.10 of the Code.
The advertisement should not be used in the same format again.