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Product: Clothing / Footwear
Advertiser: Lee Valley Ireland
Medium: Social Media (Company's Own Page)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
The social media posts by the advertisers stated the following:
“Have You Discovered our Irish Wool Slippers Yet?
Made from 100% Irish Merino Wool, these Slippers are wonderfully soft and comfortable keeping your feet warm and cozy. One of our most gifted items at a great price!”
Beneath the post there is a photograph of 3 pairs of feet with the slippers on them.
“Find a great range of authentic Irish knitwear at Lee Valley Ireland.
Made from Irish merino wool and knitted in traditional patterns.”
Beneath the post there is a photograph of a man wearing a sweater.
The complainant considered the advertisement for 100% Irish Merino wool slippers and jumpers to be misleading to consumers who think they were buying Irish wool products. She considered that Merino sheep belonged to the southern hemisphere and could not survive in Irish climate, and the advertised wool product was more likely to be Australian.
The advertisers said that they bought their wool sweaters from Westend Knitwear who were based in Monasterevin, Co. Kildare, and that these sweaters were Irish made and they were a long-established company. They said they knew the factory quite well.
They said the sweaters were made in various qualities including cotton, linen, wool, and indeed merino wool. The advertisers said that where the factory imported their raw materials from, and in this case their knitting wool, was no concern of theirs, other than to state clearly that the sweaters manufactured in Ireland did use merino wool in many of the sweaters.
They said exact same applied to the wool slippers, this was a Dublin based company whom they knew and had been dealing with for quite some time.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Complaints Committee noted the Code requirement that before offering a marketing communication for publication, advertisers should satisfy themselves that they will be able to provide documentary evidence to substantiate all claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective. They Committee considered the claims that the products were made with “Irish” Merino wool to be an objective claim. They noted that substantiation for the claims that the products were made with “Irish merino wool” had not been provided.
The Complaints Committee considered therefore that the claims that the merino wool was Irish had not been substantiated and was misleading. In the circumstances, the Committee considered the advertising to be in breach of the Code sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9 and 4.10.
The advertisements must not appear in the current form again.