A television advertisement for eircom bundles featured three cups and a mechanical ‘hand’. The middle cup is lifted, revealing an open laptop. Text on the laptop screen stated “Superfast Fibre Broadband”. Three mechanical hands are then shown, one on each cup and the cups are moved around. A second cup is lifted revealing a portable phone handset. The cups are moved again and a third cup is lifted revealing a mobile phone. The bundle price of €30 is shown and the cups are again shown moving and all are lifted at the same time to reveal the three elements of the bundle, home phone, broadband and mobile phone. Two of the cups are then shown being placed back over the laptop and the home phone leaving the mobile phone uncovered. Confetti starts to fall onto the mobile phone.
The voice over stated: “Now you can get the best value bundle ever only from eircom. With superfast fibre broadband, plus your calls from home and we’ve added mobile, all in one bundle for one incredible price of €30 a month. Super-fast fibre broadband, home phone and mobile. Sign up by May 16th and we’ll even give you a free smart phone. Call 1800 503 303.”
The footnote stated:
“Subject to availability & 18 month contract. Price after 6 month promotion €60 a month. See eircom.ie for terms.”
End shot of on screen text:
“eircom. All Together Now.
1800 503 303. Go to an eircom store. See eircom.ie”
Two complainants objected to the advertisement on the grounds that it was misleading.
One complainant considered that the small print used in the advertisement, which notified consumers that the advertised price was a promotional price for six months only, was very small. He noted that the contract was for 18 months which meant that the actual monthly cost of the bundle for the duration of the contract was €50 per month. He considered that the claim to have the “best value bundle” at €30 was misleading. He also considered that the voiceover should have made reference to the price after the promotional period.
The second complainant considered that the practice of a headline offer price which was then contradicted by the small print was misleading.
The advertisers stated that their 30 second television advertisement clearly stated in print “price after promotion €60 a month” which was on screen for 8 seconds.
They considered that this was sufficient for the average consumer to see and read.
They referred to their radio advertisement which had included the statement “price after 6 month promotion €60 a month’ at the end of their 30 second advertisement. They considered that it had also been clearly audible. They also referred to press and outdoor advertisements which had included the statement at the beginning of the terms and conditions.
In the light of this they considered that they had advised their customers sufficiently of the promotional nature of the price point.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee noted that the advertising had included a reference to the fact that the price was a promotional price. However, while the print size was acceptable, this reference had not been linked by way of an asterisk to the main headline price. The Committee, who had previously adjudicated on a similar matter involving the advertisers, (Case 20232), were disappointed that eircom had not carried through with the requirements of their earlier adjudication.
The Complaints Committee considered that the advertising was in breach of Section 2.23 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.