Following a single complaint from a member of the public in Scotland one of the press ads that Halfords ran in the summer has been found to be at fault.
The upheld complaint is published in Januarys ASA Monthly Report.
The objection was to an ad headlined Midsummer madness at Halfords. The advertisement featured a picture of a Gemini Outrider MTB and claimed Weve torn 1/3 off thousands of bikes Adult Mountain Bikes from £53.29*.
The asterisk was linked to a footnote that claimed Whilst stocks lost...Offers subject to availablity.
The complainant, who visited two stores on the day the advertisement appeared, was told they had no Gemini Outriders for £53.29 in stock, so challenged the availability of the bikes.
The ASA said that Halfords claim they took care to ensure that their advertisements were not misleading. Halfords said a team of people made sure that they had ample stock throughout their stores for the Midsummer Madness promotion. They said both their stores in Aberdeen, which the complainant had visited, had models of the Gemini Outrider when the promotion began but conceded that they seemed to have been sold before the complainant visited them.
Halfords provided evidence that confirmed stocks of the bicycle nationwide. Halfords said they had previously taken advice from their local Trading Standards department, which had advised them that, provided stock was available within the company, not every store needed to hold the advertised product.
On 31 July, the Gemini Outrider was no longer evenly distributed throughout Halfords stores and Halfords replaced the picture in the advertisement with another bicycle.
The ASA was concerned, however, that Halfords had not shown that the Aberdeen branches had stocks of the Gemini Outrider throughout the duration of the advertised promotion, and asked the chain to ensure that enough stock of advertised items was available to meet anticipated demand at all branches participating in the promotion in future.
When an individual complains to the ASA their name is withheld from the advertiser. However, when a business complains their details are published.
The Association of Cycle Traders complained about a Halfords national press advertisement in March 1999. This was headlined "To appreciate Halfords adjustable brake levers, put your child's hand on this page". It pictured the hand grip and brake lever of a child's bike and stated, " ... According to the retailers [ie IBDs and other cycle stockists], the bike is suitable for children as young as 4 years old. The retailers, we hasten to add, are not Halfords. Because all Halfords children's bikes are fitted with adjustable brake levers. By turning a simple screw, you can adjust the reach of the brake levers to suit your child's hands ... not all children's bikes are made the same way".
However, this complaint was not upheld because the ASA considered the advertisement had not implied that retailers were responsible for safety standards but merely emphasised the extra care Halfords took with the quality of their children's cycles.
Halfords claimed they had surveyed their two main competitors (?) and found that only about 50 percent of the children's cycles stocked had adjustable brake levers. Halfords had concluded therefore that, because all their children's cycles had adjustable brake levers, the comparison was fair. The Authority did not consider the advertisement implied Halfords were the only retailers to stock children's cycles with adjustable screws for brake levers, but were merely stating that all their own children's cycles had this feature.
The ASA regulates non-broadcast advertisements in the UK. It does not regulate television or radio advertisements. It covers: print advertisements in newspapers or magazines; outdoor posters; direct mail leaflets and brochures; sales promotions of any kind; other electronic media, including videos, computer games and CD-roms; cinema advertisements, advertisements on the internet, including banner and pop-up ads, commercial e-mails and sales promotions.
Advertising Standards Authority
2 Torrington Place
London WC1E 7HW
Telephone: 020 7580 5555
Fax: 020 7631 3051