Cataloguers caught out by advertising watchdog


Redcats UK title La Redoute, Play.com, Scotts & Co brand The
Original Gift Company, and Healthspan recently fell afoul of the
Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The ASA in January upheld complaints against La Redoute for not
spelling out the terms and conditions of a promotional offer
clearly enough. The apparel and home goods cataloguer sent
customers a promotional mailing offering iPods to the first 150
recipients. But customers were told of the promotion’s start date
and that only customers who phoned in orders were eligible only
in small print on a separate page from the introductory text. In
eight of the nine complaints, customers were incorrectly told
that they had won an iPod. One customer, though, was told before
the promotion was to officially begin that all the iPods had been
given away “days ago”. Although there were only 150
iPods to give away, the ASA estimated that 3,000 customers were
“inconvenienced” by the error. The ASA found La
Redoute in breach of sales promotion rules and has banned the
cataloguer from using the mailing again in its current form.

DVD, CD, and games merchant Play.com was also rapped for a sales
promotion. In January the ASA warned Play.com, for the second
time in a year, about misleading discounts based on
unsubstantiated recommended retail pricing.

The ASA reprimanded The Original Gift Company for mailing a
15-year-old girl a personalised promotional offer for wine. The
Original Gift Company blamed a cooperative database for the
blunder.

And Healthspan was reproached for making unsubstantiated claims
about certain supplements in its catalogue. The authority ordered
Healthspan to stop distributing the catalogue and consult the
copy advice team of the Committees of Advertising Practice (CAP)
when devising future ads.

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