A TV ad mentioned that the advertised windows and doors could be bought on credit and included the required small print, in white. But screen and voiceover also barked “Read the red writing”. Did this fatally distract viewers from their beloved flytype? Omar Bucchioni tells us more.
Topic: Financial Services
Who: Safestyle UK
When: September 2008
Where: The ASA
Law stated as at: 20 September 2008
Could an advertiser include all the small print he needs to under relevant legislation, yet still find himself in breach by distracting the viewer’s attention? A recent case before the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) involving a TV ad for Safestyle double glazed windows and doors sheds light.
As described at http://www.safestyle-windows.co.uk/, Safestyle is a UK company which has been making double glazed windows and doors for over 15 years.
As stated at http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/adjudications/Public/TF_ADJ_44958.htm, a recent TV advertisement for Safestyle showed images of windows and doors being manufactured and fitted. Above those images there was a communication in red text which stated “Read the red writing”. In addition, a voice said “Listen, read the red writing […]”. Soon after, the red text changed into “Product and styles … Flexible monthly payments … beat any quote call now”. At the same time, disclosures as required by the Consumer Credit Advertisement Regulations 2004 scrolled across the bottom of the screen, in white text.
The advert was challenged on the basis that it was likely to mislead viewers by directing them to read the large red text instead of the smaller white text disclosures.
The ASA decision
The ASA adjudication panel investigated the advertisement under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 5.4.1 (Visual techniques and special effects) and 5.4.2 (Superimposed text) but did not find it in breach.
In this case, the ASA considered that the duration of the hold for the on-screen text complied with the BCAP Guidance. Basically, in this case, the scrolling white text that set out the terms and conditions moved sufficiently slowly to be legible. Therefore, although the visual and verbal direction to read the red text seemed at first distracting, it was possible to read both sets of text.
Why this matters:
A clear message is coming from the ASA: “Mind the speed with which information is delivered in your ads”.
A recent radio advert of a large telephone company was also recently investigated under CAP (Broadcast) Radio Advertising Standards Code Section 2, rule 3 (Misleadingness). The company has been told not to re-broadcast the advert as it was delivered too quickly. This despite the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) saying that, although the qualifications were read more quickly than the speech in the main body of the ad, they believed they were still easy to understand. In that case, the terms and conditions were not clearly audible according to the ASA and the ad could mislead listeners.