New Decisions: Chocolate, AMP Kiwisaver and More

The following decisions have been published:

AMP Kiwisaver Advertisement Misled Consumers

The radio advertisement for AMP said in part…“There are more than 400,000 Kiwis in default funds within Kiwi Saver.  And I’m one of them.  Although there are no guarantees, if I move my savings to a fund with a potentially higher return, I could make my money work even harder.” It finishes with a call to action – “Check for yourself. Go to”

The Complainants said the advertisement is misleading as it implies you can check whether you are in any KiwiSaver default fund by going to the website listed. However, the website link given takes you to AMP’s homepage and it can only check for members that are in the AMP KiwiSaver default fund. The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was likely to mislead consumers about the service offered by the website and ruled the complaint was Upheld.

The Advertiser appealed the Decision. It said the advertisement should be viewed within a broader social responsibility context.  It said the advertisement was not seeking to sell anything and was designed to educate consumers about the importance of KiwiSaver fund choices.  The Advertiser said no consumers were misled by the invitation to check if they were in a default fund.

The Appeal Board ruled the advertisement was misleading with regard to what was offered (an opportunity to check if you were in a default fund) versus what the majority of consumers received (only AMP default fund participants would be able to confirm their fund status through the site).  The Board said the advertisement did have a commercial aspect to it, which was not offset by any educative intent. Accordingly, The Appeal Board ruled the Complaint was Upheld and the Appeal was Dismissed.

Hyperbole Used to Promote Chocolate

The television advertisement for Whittakers chocolate featured brand ambassador Nigella Lawson introducing the story of Whittakers chocolate. Nigella starts the journey in Ghana, where the cocoa beans are grown. She then travels to Switzerland “the home of precision” and Porirua “the chocolate capital of the world” where each bean is roasted “to perfection” and refined to produce chocolate “that simply couldn’t be creamier”.

The Complainant said the statement that Porirua is the chocolate capital of the world is untruthful because they were unable to verify this on any website.

The Chair said the overall tone of the advertisement was upbeat and expressive, and the advertisement used hyperbole and puffery to tell the story of Whittakers chocolate. The Chair said in the same way the Advertiser uses artistic licence to call Porirua “the chocolate capital of the world”, it also uses exaggeration to say each bean is roasted “to perfection” and the refined chocolate “simply couldn’t be creamier”.

The Chair said the use of obvious hyperbole in this advertisement meant the claim about Porirua is not likely to be misleading. Accordingly, the Chair ruled there were no grounds for the complaint to proceed.