There’s no denying the satisfaction of tracking down a really great offer. A savvy shopper is certainly a happy shopper and ‘daily deals’ type promotions and websites can offer consumers some very enticing savings. But these promotions are subject to the Ad Rules and, from holding evidence for a claim to including all significant conditions, there are various key things to watch out for when promoting ‘daily deals’.
Read on for a great deal… of advertising advice.
Hold evidence for any claims made
Although you are likely to be working with third-party merchants and will rely on the information that they provide, you’re still ultimately responsible for the content that appears in your promotions. When making claims about what a product can do or what’s included as part of a service or package, you will therefore need to be happy that the evidence you hold can fully substantiate those claims.
So, these hot pants can result in weight loss? You’ll need evidence of that. This face serum can provide a freeze-like effect on face muscles to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles? You’ll need evidence of that. You get the idea.
Any images used in ads should also accurately reflect the product being sold. Images that are used for “illustration purposes only” are unlikely to be sufficient.
Amazing deal or too good to be true?
When including a promotional savings claimyou’ll need to be able to demonstrate that it’s being offered against the usual selling price of that product. For example; “was £100, now £10” – is the usual selling price £100? If not then both the price and savings claim are likely to be considered misleading.
Recency, pricing history, sales data, sales and distribution channels will all affect whether a higher price is sufficiently established as a usual selling price, so in practice the evidence required will be dependent on each individual ad. But generally speaking it should be the most recent price available and should be applied to a product for a longer period of time than the promotional price.
If the last time a product was sold at the higher price was 12 months ago then this is unlikely to be sufficient. Similarly the application of a discounted price outweighing the higher price, even by just 11 days is likely to be a problem. It’s also safe to say that providing evidence that a pack of toilet rolls was available at the higher price for three non-consecutive days, is unlikely to wipe away complaints.
Also, be wary of making savings claims against RRPs. You’ll need to ensure that the price being used accurately reflects the price that consumers will generally pay for the product across the market. It wouldn’t be sufficient to rely solely on fact that the price has been ‘recommended’ by the manufacturer.
Significant conditions are… significant
As with all promotional marketing, ads should ensure that all significant conditions are made clear at the outset. What’s significant? This will depend on the circumstances of each promotion but essentially they’re conditions that are likely to affect a consumer’s understanding of the particular promotion being offered. This can include the mechanics of a promotion (such as end dates) and what’s included/not included as part of the purchase.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint about a kite surfing course for not stating that the offer was only redeemable on weekdays or that consumers would need to pay additional charges for redeeming on weekends. In that context, this was considered information that consumers needed to know up-front in order to make an informed purchasing decision.
Be socially responsible
It’s worth keeping in mind that extra care might be needed to ensure that a ‘deal’ doesn’t fall foul of the social responsibility rules, particularly if it includes references to alcohol. Given the inevitable time-limited nature of these promotions and the generosity of some offers, it may be inappropriate to include certain products or services in this context.
Surgical and other medical or cosmetic procedures could easily fall into this category. The ASA previously ruled that this voucher, available for only 24 hours, was irresponsible as it pressured consumers into making a decision to purchase cosmetic surgery. And, although longer, a complaint about an offer for laser eye surgery that appeared over seven days was also upheld.
Source: Committee of Advertising Practice
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