The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has deemed an advert for Dyson’s Pure Hot + Cool Fan could mislead consumers into believing the product was a cordless fan by using images that do not clearly show the need to plug into mains electric.
The ad, which ran in April this year, was challenged by a complainant who said the images used implied that the fan was cordless. Dyson responded by stating that the product “was clearly shown in the ad as having a cord, which was distinguishable from both the floor and the rug depicted on the opposite of the image”.
The company said it “did not believe there was any reasonable prospect of the average consumer being misled into thinking the product was cordless”, adding that, considering no other cordless air purifiers currently exist in the UK market, should Dyson have developed such a model, the fact that it was cordless would be one of the key features it would clearly advertise and shout about.
However, the ASA upheld the complainant’s challenge, noting that there was no cord or electrical outlets visible until the final shot in the ad, which showed a cord leading from the base of the fan. The ASA explained this cord “was very thin and coloured grey on a light background… was the same colour, thickness and approximately the same length as the edge of the carpet which appeared opposite it on the screen” and could therefore, be easily missed and seen as part of the background by viewers.
In banning the ad in its current state, the ASA said: “We considered that if the fan had a cord that plugged into the mains electricity, viewers would expect to be able to see it in those shots…We told Dyson Ltd not to imply that their fans were cordless if that was not the case.”
The latest ruling follows Dyson's challenge of a Vax ad, which first appeared in August 2017 and claimed Vax's blade cordless 24v vacuum cleaner is “as powerful as a corded vacuum”. Dyson challenged that the claim was misleading and could not be substantiated, and the ASA upheld the objection, ruling that the ad could nnot appear again in its current state.