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Advertiser: Musgrave Group (SuperValu)
Medium: Brochure, Leaflet
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 4.1, 4.4, 4.9, 4.10, 4.27
SuperValu provided the following in their leaflet:
“LATTE? CAPUCCINO? AMERICANO?
We’ve got you covered!
Selected Stores Only
TASSIMO STARTER KIT
• Bosch Tassimo Vivy 2 Coffee Machine
• 3 Packets of Tassimo Coffee Pods
• €20 Voucher Redeemable on Coffee Pods
Tassimo Kenco Range / Cadbury Chocolate Discs (Details In-store or Online)”
The bottom of the leaflet contained the statement:
“Offers valid from Thursday 2nd August – Wednesday 15th August 2018”
The complainant considered the advertisement to be misleading. The leaflet that the complainant received by post stated that the offer was available only in selected stores. The complainant called a number of stores to see if they would be stocking the advertised item and was informed by all the stores that the item was sold out the previous week, one week earlier than it was stated on the leaflet. The complainant queried this with the advertisers who advised the complainant that it was down to individual stores whether they sell before date advertised.
The advertisers stated that there was an issue with the promotion and that it proved to be more popular than they anticipated. They said the offer was genuine and available in selected stores only, as set out on the advertising materials for the promotion. They said their forecast was that they had 3 weeks of stock for the promotion, however, it was sold out in 8 days and there was then a period of approximately 10 days when the promotional product was not available or was subject to very limited availability.
They said the Tassimo Coffee machine was advertised in the Supervalu National Handbill dated 2nd August 2018 and that a delivery of this pamphlet started across the country from Monday 30th July. They said the offers in the handbill were all stated to be valid from 2nd to 14th August and that their promotional cycle started the week before on 26th July which was when the Tassimo offer started. They said this offer was advertised in the handbill as being valid from 2nd August, but it had also been on offer in the previous week. They said that when they issue handbills they do not say that offers are available from before the date of the handbill even where this was the case, as it would be confusing and potentially misleading to their customers.
In summary, the advertisers said that there was unprecedented demand for the offer and took steps to get extra stock so customers would have a chance to avail of the terms of this promotion.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They noted that there was unprecedented demand for the offer which was beyond the control of the advertisers and they took steps to order more stock.
The Committee noted, however, that the promotion had been available a week earlier than advertised. The Committee considered that consumers would not be aware that the promotional cycle would start before the advertised starting date. The Committee considered that the existence of two start dates, only one of which was advertised, was likely to mislead consumers and in breach of Code sections 4.1 and 4.4.
The advertisement should not be used in the same format again.
The Committee reminded the advertisers that promotional dates should match advertised items’ availability. The Committee also recommended that the advertisers include the statement “while stocks last” in future similar offers in order to indicate to consumers that the item had limited availability.