Homebase ad dodges ban

LONDON - Two ads promoting price savings at Homebase have escaped a ban by the Advertising Standards Authority after rival company B&Q complained they were misleading.

B&Q challenged whether the savings claims in the brochure and TV ads, by Leo Burnett London, were misleading as they did not include a closing date for the offer and had only been available at full price at a limited number of stores.

Homebase said it had discussed requirements for the offer with its home trading standards authority and sought to comply with the guidelines outlined in the BERR Pricing Practices Guide.

It considered the strategy of using a select number of stores to launch a selected product run or season was well established in the retail sector.

Clearcast added that it had sought assurance from Homebase that the higher prices were genuine and products were sold in reasonable quantities at those prices. It also noted that the period for which they were available at those prices was sufficient to be considered a genuine offer of sale.

The ASA conferred with Homebase’s home trading standards authority, which confirmed there was no definitive position regarding the number of branches at which a retailer should have sold products at a higher price before applying savings claims to lower prices across its branches.

It concluded the savings claims were unlikely to mislead and on this point did not find the ad to be in breach.

Additionally, Homebase said the lower prices were valid for the summer season and felt the title in the ad Summer 09 was sufficient to indicate the time period for the promotion.

The watchdog noted Homebase believed it could continue to offer the products at the lower prices for the duration of the summer season and there was no evidence to indicate otherwise. On this point, it considered the ad unlikely to mislead.

No further action necessary.