The advertising for Sky Boxsets containing some images of various Boxsets available to Sky customers referred to the following:
“5 hours sleep is plenty
Exclusively on Sky Box Sets
The complainants considered the advertising to be irresponsible. They considered it was not in the public interest to suggest that five hours sleep a night was enough for people. Some considered that lack of sleep could have a negative effect on people’s health, while others considered that lack of sleep was often responsible for dangerous driving.
The advertisers said, by way of context, that the advertisement complained of was one of number in a campaign. The purpose of the campaign was to suggest (in a tongue in cheek manner) that Sky Boxsets were so addictive that one would be left with a dilemma as to whether to undertake other activities (e.g. wash dishes, go to the gym, go to bed) or watch another box set.
The advertisers pointed out that the Code provides at paragraph 2.15 that “deliberate hyperbole that is unlikely to mislead, incidental minor inaccuracies and unorthodox spellings are not necessarily in conflict with the Code provided that they do not affect the accuracy or perception of the marketing communication in any material way”. They said it was their view that most people would appreciate that they were not endorsing a lack of sleep nor were they recommending to the public that they should not sleep. Their advertising had never been presented as a statement of fact. It was clearly intended as ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and deliberately hyperbolic.
In relation to the requirement under the Code not to encourage or condone dangerous behaviour or unsafe practices, the advertisers considered that, even if a viewer were to take the advertisement literally and only sleep for five hours, this was not dangerous behaviour; it would only be unsafe over a prolonged period of time. They pointed out that the advertisement does not suggest that people should not sleep for the recommended time over a prolonged period.
In relation to the suggestion that they were encouraging people to drive on five hours sleep, they said that was not stated in the advertisement. They did not consider it feasible to suggest that someone who was driving and feeling tired would ignore their tiredness on seeing the advertisement.
The advertisers did not consider that the advertising was misleading or in breach of the ASAI Code.
Complaints not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the details of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. They noted that the advertising campaign was intended to be ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and that the Code allowed for ‘deliberate hyperbole’ and exaggeration that was ‘unlikely to mislead’. They did not consider that the marketing communication was advising consumers to only ever sleep for five hours, rather it was pointing to the conflict between doing one thing (going to sleep) and finishing a box set. The Committee did not consider the advertising had breached the requirements of the Code and did not uphold the complaints.
No further action was required in this case.