New Decisions: Free Gifts, ‘Traditional’ Recipes and More

The following decisions have been published on the ASA website:

Free Gifts Deal Ruled OK

The MyRepublic website and Facebook advertisements for the “Gamer Ultra PS4” broadband plan offered a free Playstation4 (PS4) with a contract term of 24 months. This offer also included a free router, install and gamer features.

The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading because the “free PS4” which accompanied the offer was not really “free”. This is because the cancellation fee, in the event of the broadband plan being cancelled within 24 months, equals the cost of the PS4.

The Advertiser said the advertisement was not misleading because the customer received a free PS4 (and other items) when they agreed to a contract term of 24 months. If a customer did not complete the contract term they are charged an early termination fee.

The Complaints Board agreed that as the contract terms and conditions were clearly expressed and available to the customer prior to purchase, the advertisement was not misleading.  Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to Not Uphold the complaint.

Biscuit Ad’s Claims of ‘Traditional Recipes’ Accepted 

A television advertisement for Chanui biscuits showed packets of Chanui biscuits and a male presenter saying Chanui biscuits “taste great because we use traditional recipes and top quality ingredients, and what’s more, they are made in New Zealand.”

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement stated Chanui biscuits were made to traditional recipes, but very high on the ingredients list were “palm oil” and “hydrogenated palm oil”. The Complainant said Chanui was “falsely advertising its new biscuits, and misleading the consumers of New Zealand.”

The Advertiser stated palm oil “has been around for thousands of years and the process for hydrogenated palm oil was invented in 1902. The reason for this confusion may be that a lot of palm oil is labelled as vegetable oil.”  The Advertiser pointed out that many Anzac biscuits were legitimately made with margarine, which contained palm oil, as well as butter.

The Complaints Board said that regardless of the ingredients in question, the biscuits could be called traditional because of the way they were made. It said many ingredients routinely used in the production of biscuits involved industrial processes.  The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was not likely to mislead or deceive consumers, and had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility.  Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled to Not Uphold the complaint.