The leaflet by National Pen sent to the complainant stated:
“Buy 1, Get 1 FREE
50 pens for only €2.56 €1.79
+ 50 FREE
+ FREE personalised laser-engraved imprint!”
The complainant said that there was no indication in the advertisement that the pens were charged at €1.79 each per pen.
The advertisers said that in the instance of this promotion their marketing team had omitted the word ‘each’ in reference to the pricing, and that they could appreciate how the complainant may have been confused by this error.
They said that the National Pen had strict measures in place to ensure all of their advertising and direct mail marketing campaigns were clear and did not mislead consumers. For the ASAI’s reference they provided examples of other marketing communication materials they had sent out that demonstrated clear and correct pricing information. They said they understood that all of their advertising activities must confirm to all the appropriate rules and regulations of the Code of Standards for Advertising and Marketing Communications in Ireland. They said that it was never their intention to be in breach of any of the Code Sections under which this case would be considered and unreservedly apologised for the error in the wording used in the specific promotion under investigation.
They advised they would be taking corrective action and reviewing all of their advertising and marketing communications to ensure that they were consistent and fully complied with all relevant ASAI regulations, in particular that all pricing information on their advertisements was displayed clearly and explicitly to remove any scope for misinterpretation.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They acknowledged that the advertisers had apologised for the error and they accepted that the advertisers were taking steps to ensure similar errors would not occur in the future.
The Committee considered that as the advertisement was incorrect at the time of publication, the claim made therein would have had the potential to mislead consumers and may have influenced their decision to purchase. In the circumstances the Committee considered the advertisement was in breach of sections 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10 and 4.22 of the Code.
The advertisement should not reappear in its current form. The Committee also told the advertisers to ensure that their review and approval processes are sufficiently robust to minimise the occurrence of errors.