Wilkinson Sword ad deemed misleading by ASA

Viewer complains after half-price offer claim on Hydro 5 products causes confusion

Edgewell Personal Care, the owner of shaving brand Wilkinson Sword, has been told to change one of its ads by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after a complaint was lodged against it and upheld.

The TV ad, which was broadcast on 3 October 2015, was deemed to be misleading by a complainant. The ad was for the Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 razor and Hydro 5 range. A voiceover on the ad said “now half price”, while text read “selected stores and availability. Offers end 12.11.15.”

However, the viewer complained on the grounds that they believed not all the products in the Hydro 5 range were available in their area or at half price.

Clearcast, an ads clearance and services company for the UK, responded stating that the promotion ran via six different retailers, with the retailers deciding which products in the range to discount during the promotional period of 1 October-12 November. Clearcast said there was stock remaining when the promotion concluded, which proved that discounted products were still available.

However, the ASA upheld the complain stating “viewers were likely to understand from the presentation of the Hydro 5 product range in the ad, and the use of the words “… our Hydro range, now half price”, that the full Wilkinson Sword Hydro 5 and Hydro range was discounted for the duration of the promotion at participating retailers”.

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It also noted that only two of the six retailers ran the promotion on 3 October, when the viewer watched the ad. The ASA stated: “We also understood that participating retailers had selected items from the Hydro range to discount during their agreed share of the promotion. As such, there were instances where the products were available, but were not at half price. The participating retailers opted whether to sell products from the range at full price, at a discount or not at all.” It added: “We considered that these were significant limitations that were not made clear in the ad.”

The ASA ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form and recommended that Edgewell ensure future ads for similar promotions did not imply the whole range was cut-price when it was not the case, but to state limitations.

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