Dyson challenges “misleading” vax ad and wins
Published: 19 June 2019 - Fiona Garcia
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint by Dyson that a claim made by Vax that its blade cordless 24v vacuum cleaner is “as powerful as a corded vacuum” was misleading and could not be substantiated.
The claim appeared in a national press ad and on Vax’s website in August 2017, with smaller text ad the bottom of the ad stating “*Based on pick up performance on wilton, tested on BS EN 60312 in boost mode”.
Despite Vax providing independent test data and other evidence to support its claim, the ASA said it believed that Vax was, effectively, making “an unqualified whole market comparison” and needed to have carried out and provide evidence of a full range of testing to substantiate the claim.
The watchdog added that, even though the ads included the qualification “based on pick up performance on wilton”, it considered that the word “wilton” was unlikely to be understood by consumers. Furthermore, the ASA considered that the size and placement of the qualifications in small fonts at the bottom of the ads were likely to have been overlooked by consumers, leading consumers to understand the claims to mean that the Vax Blade was as effective at cleaning dust, dirt and debris as a corded vacuum on all surface types.
Explaining its decision to uphold Dyson’s complaint, the ASA said: “Because Vax’s evidence did not relate to all surface types, as suggested by the claim, and only included dust pick-up performance testing, we concluded that the claim ‘as powerful as a corded vacuum’ had not been substantiated, and was therefore misleading.”
Vas was ordered to remove the claim unless it held adequate dust pick-up performance testing and an alternative robust form of testing, which demonstrates a vacuum cleaner's ability to remove larger debris, or to use a more specific claim, which clearly stated what aspect of a vacuum's cleaning ability the powerful claim related to. The ASA also informed the firm it must make clear if a claim only related to one type of surface.
Advertising the blade cordless model on its website, Vax now includes the claim: “With almost 3 times more suction power† than any cordless vacuum we’ve ever produced, the Vax Blade 2 Max 40V is proven to clean carpets better than the UK’s top 10 cordless vacuums*; that’s the cleaning performance of the best corded uprights‡, in a sleek, lightweight design.
*Top-20 market data, Jan-Dec 2018 (by sales volume) when tested on carpet according to IEC 62885-2:2016 clause 5.3. Tested in Boost Mode.”