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Advertiser: Brown Thomas
Medium: Online - Company Website
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 5.5, 5.15(a), 5.15(d)
An advertisement for a cosmetic product on the advertisers’ website featured a banner over the product stating:
“Free Gift with Purchase”
Underneath the product information there was a box of text stating:
“Your exclusive Brown Thomas Beauty Box when you spend €200 or more on beauty. Details”
The complainant said that she had purchased the cosmetic product in question and believed that she would therefore receive a free gift as stated in the advertisement. When she did not receive the gift, she queried the matter with Customer Service who advised her that, had she spent €200 or more, she would have received a beauty box worth €80. The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading as it was not clear that the ‘free gift’ in question referred to the Beauty Box offer.
The advertisers said that the online desktop journey relating to the Beauty Box ‘Gift with Purchase’ promotion featured a banner stating “GIFT WITH PURCHASE” on all beauty products across the site. They said that, when a customer clicked on a beauty product, they would then see details of the qualifier for the ‘Gift with Purchase’ which read “Your exclusive Brown Thomas Beauty Box when you spend €200 or more on beauty. Details”. If the customer hovered over “Details”, they said, they would see the contents of the gift and the qualifier again. If the customer added products to their shopping bag, they said, the offer would be highlighted and when the customer had selected €200 worth of beauty products, the Beauty Box would be added to their basket.
The advertisers advised that, in the case of the Beauty Box promotion on mobile, all beauty products would have displayed a banner which stated “GIFT WITH PURCHASE”. When the customer clicked into the product, they said, the details of the gift would be outlined below the product instead of to the right of the product, as on desktop. They explained that this was standard for all mobile format, as all information must either stack above or below. When the customer had selected the qualifying product, they said, the gift would automatically go into their basket, which they would then be able to see in their basket. If the customer were to select the ‘information’ option visible at the corner of the product, they said, the qualifier would be outlined again.
They said that they make great effort to ensure any promotion they ran instore or online is very clear for the customer and that they look at all touchpoints of the journey to ensure clarity and ease of understanding. They said that they have run the Beauty Box promotion three times since November last year and intend to run another promotion again. They said that they did consider that their “GIFT WITH PURCHASE” format was clear to customers and that customers would always clearly see the qualifier details along with the product they intended to purchase.
They said that they would never intentionally design creative that could not be understood or try to mislead their customers with unclear messaging. They said they were willing to review the matter to determine whether they could extend the information provided in the ‘GIFT WITH PURCHASE’ banner to avoid any inconvenience to customers.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They acknowledged that the details of the qualifier were available in the ‘information’ section on the product pages of the desktop and mobile website versions respectively. They noted the advertisers’ willingness to amend the information included in the relevant banner.
They considered, however, that the wording “Gift with Purchase” was misleading as there was a requirement to purchase additional products up to a certain value in order to qualify for the gift. The Committee also considered the advertisement did not make clear that the ‘Gift with Purchase’ and ‘Beauty Box’ offers referred to the same promotion.
In the circumstances, they considered that the design of the advertisement was materially misleading at the time of the promotion.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.