These reports are case summaries of complaints which appeared to raise issues of substance in relation to the interpretation of the ITC Advertising Standards Code. Summary statistics of non-substantive complaints can be found in the full reports which are obtainable from the ITC.
The Sun - Frost DVD
Complaint from: 9 viewers
An advertisement for the Sun newspaper offered readers a "Touch of Frost" DVD as "the first of three free DVDs, only in tomorrow's Sun". Onscreen text stated:
"Redeem at ASDA
EASON in Northern Ireland on 06/09/03"
The second of the three DVDs on offer was "Coronation Street". The advertisement stated "it's a completely and utterly free DVD offer", and displayed the same onscreen text as the first advertisement with the exception of a different date - 13/09/03.
Viewers complained that the "Touch of Frost" commercial was misleading because they had expected to get the DVD with the paper, and found that it could only be obtained by redeeming a voucher at ASDA.
The ITC did not receive any complaints about the "Coronation Street" advertisement, but it was nevertheless concerned about the wording of the onscreen text used in both versions. The text seemed to suggest that the date given for redeeming vouchers only applied to EASON in Northern Ireland, whereas vouchers could be redeemed in ASDA at any time.
The advertiser had believed that the onscreen text on the "Frost" commercial was enough to highlight that the DVD did not come inside the newspaper. However, it conceded that the word "offer" should have been used in the voiceover to emphasise this point, and said that "offer" was used in the other commercials.
The advertiser confirmed that the redemption period for the "Frost" DVD was 06/09/03 to 07/09/03, and not just 06/09/03 as stated in the advertisement. The period for the "Coronation Street" DVD ran from 13/09/03 to 14/09/03. It accepted that the text failed to make the redemption period clear, and confirmed that the onscreen text would be amended for the last of the three commercials which offered readers a free DVD of "Emmerdale".
As many newspapers and magazines now include DVDs and CDs with the publication itself, the ITC considered that an advertisement showing the newspaper together with the free item in the same shot could be particularly confusing if that item could only be obtained by redeeming vouchers. The ITC noted that the "Coronation Street" and "Emmerdale" advertisements included the word "offer" in the voiceover, whereas the "Frost" commercial used the phrase "only in tomorrow's Sun", but it did not think that either phrase, or the onscreen text alerting viewers of the need to redeem vouchers, was sufficient to override the strong impression given by the end shot that the DVD came with the newspaper. The ITC therefore judged that the advertisements were misleading, and required that future advertising should not include visuals of a free item with a newspaper/magazine, unless that item came with it.
With regard to the onscreen text, the ITC acknowledged the steps the advertiser had taken to amend the "Emmerdale" advertisement, but nevertheless judged that both the "Touch of Frost" and "Coronation Street" commercials were misleading in this regard.
Complaints upheld. Breach of ITC Code Rule 5.2.3.