The advertising features a young woman entering a hospital. We then see her resting in a hospital bed. In the next scene she is featured resting at home in bed reading a story to her two children. The cover of the book she is reading contains the following text “VHI Homecare included in all hospital plans.” In the final scene she is featured outside a coffee shop having a coffee. The story as it unfolds is told in the woman’s own words as follows:
“I had very high temperatures and I was feeling very unwell and was admitted to hospital.”
[text on-screen:] “The featured customer has received a gratuity on behalf of VHI Healthcare for their time in making this commercial.” The story continues:
“I was being given a dose of IV antibiotics.
I was probably getting three or four hours of broken sleep.
One of the doctors suggested VHI Homecare.
The VHI doctor who came to my door put in the line and then later on the nurse came to administer my dose of IV antibiotics.”
[text on-screen:] Ros is covered on Corporate Plan. Terms and Conditions apply. Geographic restrictions apply.” The story continues:
“I was in my own surroundings in my own bed. It really aided my recovery.
I really felt that they genuinely cared.
My name is Ros, and I'm glad I'm with VHI Healthcare.”
The complainant considered the advertising to be misleading as it stated that the HomeCare service was available on all hospital plans when it was only available to a small percentage of the country and in fact the service was not available to anybody in the South of Ireland.
The advertisers said that they had clearly outlined in their advertising that VHI HomeCare was a service that was included on all hospital plans and the fact that geographic restrictions applied to the product had been outlined on screen during the commercial. They did not consider the advertising was misleading.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They considered the fact that the HomeCare service was available only to a restricted geographic area was a major condition that should have been given equal visual prominence as the reference to its inclusion on all hospital plans or be included in the voice over. In the circumstances the Committee upheld the complaint under Sections 2.22, 2.24, 2.46(a) and 2.46(b).
The advertisement should not be used in its current form again.