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Advertiser: Tridike Limited (Trading as Gifted From Ireland)
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10
Two Radio advertisements (sourced from the radio station mentioned in the complaint promoting an online version of the gifted fair stated:
“gifted from Ireland.com, buy Irish, buy thoughtful, gifted from Ireland.com, we make it, you gift it. Gifted from Ireland.com”
“Let's all buy Irish, buy local and buy thoughtful this year at giftedfromireland.com. Over 150 unique Irish designers and brands from the annual gifted fair in the RDS brought direct to your door. We make it, you gift it. Giftedfromireland.com.”
The complainant considered that the advertising was misleading as it was stating that the products available to buy were Irish made when many of them were not. The complainant noted that some of the companies featured designed their products in Ireland, but they were manufactured in another country. The complainant provided an example of three companies who featured on the website; two whose products were made in Europe and a company whose product was made in Peru.
The advertisers said that the ecommerce platform was an online manifestation of the annual event they run in the RDS and was a public showcase for the crafts industry in Ireland. They said that they have over 500 small craft and food producers selling their creations to the 35,000 that attend every year. They said that for both the physical and online equivalent they have a vetting procedure to ensure that products for sale are made by the registered sellers and that they are based and working within the EU. For their online platform, giftedfromireland.com, all sellers are based on the island of Ireland.
They said that they did not recall a claim in their advertising that all the products for sale on their website were made in Ireland, however, they did say “over 150 unique Irish designers and brands, from the annual Gifted Fair in the RDS, brought direct to your door”.
In response to the three companies the complainant referred to, they said that all three were working and residing in Ireland and that they all designed and packaged their products in Ireland, employed staff in Ireland and paid taxes in Ireland. They considered that it was perfectly normal, especially in the jewellery and textile industries, that products were designed in Ireland but on occasion were manufactured abroad. They said that the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) explicitly acknowledged this fact when registering craft workers into their association. They said that it was for this very reason that they added the word “Design” to their title a number of years ago. They said that they had always been transparent with their customers and that the companies listed by the complainant all stated on giftedfromireland site that their products were designed in Ireland but made abroad, so it was obvious to a customer before making a purchase. They also advised that the three companies referred to made up less than 2% of the sellers on their website.
Finally, they stated that they did not believe that their advertising was in any way misleading, however, were willing to consider any changes or recommendations the ASAI may have.
The Design & Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) provide information to their members on country of origin, stating:
If a product is designed in Ireland and the raw materials are sourced/ made /grown in Ireland and the final piece is made in Ireland, then it is 100% Irish.
In cases where the above is not the case, country of origin labelling is essential for clarity and credibility. There are a variety of definitions of country of origin, depending on categories, tariffs and countries, however, generally products only change their country of origin if the work or material added to a product in the second country:
• constitutes a substantial transformation, or,
• the article changes its name, tariff code, character or use (for instance from wheel to car) or from a piece of fabric to a finished garment), or,
• if the value added to the finished product is significantly greater than the sum of its parts.
Under the section titled “Why is Country of Origin Labelling important?” the DCCI stated:
Craft products, by their nature, have provenance – they are made by someone, for someone. Many craft products are 100% Irish and clear labelling can highlight this. Some products – for a variety of reasons – may have elements that are not sourced or made here in Ireland, yet the final product is Irish under country-of-origin definitions. Once these products are clearly and honestly labelled, then the consumer can understand what they are purchasing and make an informed decision.
Currently there are no legal guidelines for country-of-origin labelling, other than for tariffs when a product is going to be exported. However, consumers and consumer bodies expect to see clear and definitive labelling on goods. For craft items, companies need to clearly label:
1. The main raw material(s) that makes the piece – for example if a piece of furniture is made from American hardwood, but is designed and produced here in Ireland it needs to be labelled as such.
2. Where the manufacturing process takes place; If the entire item is made in one location, then this needs to be clearly stated i.e “garment designed and produced in Ireland, made from Irish tweed.” If part of the process takes place elsewhere, for example a garment is made from fabric made in Ireland, but the garment is produced in another EU country then this needs to be clearly stated – “garment designed in Ireland and produced in Portugal from Irish tweed.”
Design Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCI) recommend that all client companies take this best practice approach. All DCCI registered clients wishing to take part in any DCCI initiative which promotes products Made in Ireland – such as all of the Design Ireland initiatives and the Made Local campaign – must comply to clear and honest country of origin labelling, or risk being withdrawn from the initiative. DCCI reserve the right to audit clients participating in these initiatives – as outlined in the Terms & Conditions of each initiative.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response.
The Committee noted the radio advertisements had referred to “buy Irish, buy thoughtful” or “buy Irish, buy local and buy thoughtful” and that both radio advertisements had used the phrase “we make it, you gift it”. The Committee noted that products designed in Ireland may be manufactured outside of Ireland and could be described as Irish under the Design Council of Ireland country of origin rules. They considered however that consumers might not be aware of this distinction, and therefore that the phrase ‘we make it’ in conjunction with ‘buy Irish’ and ‘buy local’ had the potential to mislead.
In the circumstances they considered that the advertisements were in breach of Sections 4.1 and 4.4 of the Code.
The advertisements should not reappear in their current form.