New Decisions: Misleading Advertisements, Alcohol Ads Inferring Therapeutic Benefits and More

The following decisions have been published:

Complaint 18/279 Countdown, Instore: Upheld
Complaint 18/323 2 Cheap Cars, Television: Not Upheld
Complaint 18/324 Functional Health, Digital Marketing: Settled
Complaint 18/351, Tegel, Television: Not Upheld.
Complaint 18/363 Oporto, Out of Home: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/366 GlaxoSmithKline, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/368 Tranzurban, Radio: Not Upheld.
Complaint 18/369 Bauer Media, Television: Not Upheld
Complaint 18/372 The Warehouse, Television: Not Upheld
Complaint 18/375 30 Seconds, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/378 Beiersdorf, Nivea, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/387 Eye Specialists, Radio: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/389 Vodafone, Television: No Grounds to Proceed
Complaint 18/397 Husquarna NZ, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement changed
Complaint 18/403 Liquor King, Digital Marketing: No Grounds to Proceed.
Complaint 18/402 Scapegrace Gin, Digital Marketing: Settled – Advertisement removed

In-store Sale Advertisement Misleading

The Countdown In-Store advertisement for Tasti Raw Snacking Multipacks was a brightly coloured notice. On the left-hand corner of the notice was the word “New” in big white letters on a pink background. Next to this was a colour photo of the product and the price of $4.99. Across the bottom of the notice was the text “While stocks last. Price valid Monday 15 October to Sunday 21 October 2018.”

The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading because the product looked like it was on sale when it wasn’t.

The Advertiser said under the original promotion the product was to be sold for its usual shelf price of $4.99 for the first two weeks from 10 September, then for the “introductory offer” of $4.00 for the next three weeks and then return to the usual shelf price of $4.99 on 15 October. The Advertiser acknowledged the operator neglected to remove the statement at the bottom of the ticket regarding the period of availability of the introductory offer price.

The Complaints Board said even though the price listed on the ticket ($4.99) was the correct price, the advertisement suggested the new product is for sale under a special offer, with a special price, and for a limited period. The Complaints Board ruled the advertisement was misleading and the complaint was Upheld.

Alcohol Products Must Not Infer Therapeutic Benefits

The product packaging, website and Facebook advertisements for Scapegrace Gin used a prescription box to display the gin bottles and included the wording “Free Healthcare and Mixology advice.” The Facebook posting displayed the product and said “Are you OK? Feeling a bit under the weather? Sounds like you need a Scapegrace Prescription Box to cure your woes.”

The Complainant was concerned that the product packaging mimicked pharmaceutical packaging and the promotional material suggested the product had therapeutic properties, including the ability to “cure woes.”

The Advertiser said their promotion was based on the history of gin which was originally sold in pharmacies to be used for medicinal purposes and that there were disclaimers printed on the box stating “this box does not contain any drugs or pharmaceutical items”. However, they apologised and withdrew the product from all channels and have also removed any reference to the product in advertising/on social media.

Given the Advertiser’s co-operative engagement with the process and the self-regulatory action taken in removing the product, website listing and Facebook posting, the Chair said that it would serve no further purpose to place the matter before the Complaints Board. The Chair ruled that the matter was settled.