Ofcom has recently reported on not one, but two recent TV ads where the content of music compilation discs has been misrepresented.
Who: Ofcom, Warner Music UK and Target NMI
When: March 2004
In the same set of Ofcom TV advertising complaint reports, advertisements for two different music compilations were found to be misleading.
Warner Music's ad for "The very best of Cher" CD listed on screen the songs which appeared. One viewer bought the compilation but found that one of the songs listed did not feature on the CD after all. In Warner Music's explanation it turned out that there were two different versions of "The Very Best of Cher". "Song for the Lonely", the track that was listed on screen but did not feature in the complainant's CD, did feature in a previous "The Very Best of Cher" CD, but it was the one that the claimant bought, which omitted "Song for the Lonely," which was the more widely available.
As this track was only available on some versions and this was not made clear in the advertisement, the complaint was upheld and the ad found to be misleading.
The Target NMI commercial promoted a "Michael Jackson No.1s" DVD. The original footage of the video for the song "Smooth Criminal" appeared in the ad, but not in the DVD itself. Sony Music explained that there were two videos made for the song "Smooth Criminal" and due to an administrative error, a few shots from the wrong video had been included in the ad.
Again, the advertisement was found to be misleading and the complaint was upheld.
Why this matters:
These cases underline the necessity of ensuring that the description of the product that the ad is selling is 100% accurate, particularly in the case of audio visual products with supposedly listed tracks or featured footage.
Although it does not appear that relevant action was taken in this case, it is also worth noting that the inconsistencies complained of in both these cases could have resulted in successful prosecutions of the advertisers under the Trade Discriptions Act 1968.