A Dyson complaint against a Morphy Richards vacuum cleaner advert has led to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling that the advert is ‘likely to mislead’ consumers.
The advert, which was seen on www.morphyrichards.co.uk, was for the Morphy Richards’ Liftaway Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner.
Small print at the bottom of the web page included the text: ‘Models compared based on a single carpet sweep: Morphy Richards 73410, Dyson DC24, Vax Mach Air U91-MA-B & Hoover Turbo Power UTP1605’.
Dyson challenged whether two claims were misleading and could be substantiated: that Morphy Richards’ Liftaway Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner was ‘proven to pick up more dust than other vacuum cleaners in its class’ and that it ‘never loses suction’.
Morphy Richards said the first claim was qualified, as the footnote explained the basis of the test and the products used as a comparison. It said that the qualification clearly stated the nature of the test and the other products were broadly similar in terms of price point, power and method of operation.
Morphy Richards also submitted a report which they believed substantiated their first claim. It also said the basis of the second ‘never loses suction’ claim was an objective standard, measured during independent testing.
The ASA asked an independent expert to assess the claims.The expert was concerned that the Dyson DC24, used as a comparison, had a lower air wattage than other Dyson products in the same general price range.
The expert was also concerned that the claim was heavily qualified and was tested tested on carpet and not other floor surfaces as well. Because Morphy Richards had compared their product with a vacuum cleaner with a lower air wattage, and the overall comparison was on one surface with a single sweep, ASA concluded that the comparison was unfair and the ad was likely to mislead.
Morphy Richards said that the comparison with Dyson DC24 would not be used as a comparision in future advertising.
However, the ASA decided that the advert’s ‘never loses suction’ claim was not misleading, after its expert was satisfied with the results of the independent testing.
ASA concluded that the ad must not appear in its current form and told Morphy Richards to ensure that it held robust evidence before making comparative claims.