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Specsavers NZ, Television
Specsavers NZ, Television
DATE OF MEETING
28 February 2017
The Specsavers television advertisement promoted a two-for-one offer of glasses. The
advertisement showed a man appearing to hit a seagull instead of a ball in a beach volley
ball game followed by the words: "Should have gone to Specsavers." The penultimate frame
of the advertisement said: "AA members benefit. Free eye exam normally $60." Along the
bottom of the screen was the disclaimer: "Free eye exam applies to standard eye
examinations only. One available per AA member every two years. See specsavers.co.nz for
details." The voice-over promoting the deal for two pairs of designer glasses for $299 adds
"and we'l give you a free eye exam."
The Complainant was concerned that the advertisement said that an eye examination was
free for AA members but did not say that conditions applied. The Complainant said they had
been charged $60 after the examination they thought was free and was told the free
examination was only for every two years.
The Complaints Board said it was made clear in the advertisement's disclaimer that the free
eye examination was only available to AA members every two years.
Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.
[No further action required]
Please note this headnote does not form part of the Decision.
COMPLAINTS BOARD DECISION
The Chair directed the Complaints Board to consider the advertisement with reference to
Basic Principle 4 and Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics. This required the Complaints Board to
consider whether the advertisement had been prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society and whether it contained any statement or visual
presentation or created an overall impression which directly or by implication, omission
ambiguity or exaggerated claim was misleading or deceptive, was likely to deceive or
mislead the consumer, made false and misleading representation, abused the trust of the
consumer or exploited their lack of experience or knowledge. (Obvious hyperbole,
identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading.)
The Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld
The Complaints Board considered the Complainant's concern that the Specsavers NZ
advertisement said an eye examination was free to AA members but did not say conditions
applied. The Complainant said they made an appointment and had an eye examination and
afterwards had been charged $60. The Complainant said in part: "They said the free eye
exam was only for every two years which they never mentioned in any of their
advertisements on TV. I had an eye examination a year ago which was free." The
Complainant believed they should have been told they had had an eye examination a year
ago and that it was only free every two years. They felt they had no choice but to pay.
The Advertiser's Response
The Complaints Board turned to the response from the Advertiser, Specsavers. The
Advertiser said the advertisement stated, in regard to the AA benefit of a free eye
examination: "Free eye exam applies to standard eye examination only. One available per
AA member every two years. See Specsavers.co.nz for details."
The Complaints Board then considered the response from the Commercial Approvals
Bureau (CAB) on behalf of the media. The CAB said the Specsavers commercial promoted a
deal where AA members could access no-cost eye examinations, the conditions for which
were clearly stipulated within the advertisement's graphic disclaimers. The CAB's belief was
the Complainant had overlooked the stated disclaimers and had subsequently been
surprised during a retail visit.
The Complaints Board's Discussion
The Complaints Board said the advertisement's disclaimer clearly stated that AA members
were entitled to a free eye examination only once every two years. The Complaints Board
noted this condition was in writing on the television screen and qualified the verbal offer
promoting the free eye examination. The Complaints Board noted that as the offer was a
benefit for AA members, it was also likely to be promoted through advertising targeting
The Complaints Board agreed the size of the script in the disclaimer would be clear to most
people but could have been increased as people most likely to pay attention to the
advertisement may be people in need of an eye examination and possibly have impaired
The Complaints Board agreed the advertisement was not likely to mislead or deceive
consumers and had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility as required by
the Code of Ethics.
The Complaints Board ruled to Not Uphold the complaint.
Decision: Complaint Not Upheld
DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT
The television advertisement for Specsavers featured two teams playing beach volleyball. A
man on one team thought the ball had been served and jumped toward the net. He mistook
a seagull for the ball because of his poor eyesight. Unaware of his mistake, the man
celebrated as he thought he had returned the ball to score a point.
The promotion of the two-for-one deal followed in script, images and a voice over. The
penultimate frame of the advertisement told viewers: "AA members benefit. Free eye exam
normally $60." Along the bottom of the screen was printed the disclaimer: "Free eye exam
applies to standard eye examinations only. One available per AA member every two years.
See specsavers.co.nz for details." The voice-over added: "... and we'l give you a free eye
exam." The last frame of the advertisement showed the beach scene with the hapless man
on the sand and the Specsavers logo. The voice over said: "Should've gone to
COMPLAINT FROM J LEONG
Specsavers in all their advertisements said that if you are an AA member the eye
examination is free! What they did not say was conditions apply. When I went for my
appointment and after my eye exam which I thought was free, I was told to pay $60 for the
eye exam at the end of the exam. They said the free eye exam was only for every 2 years
which they never mentioned in any of their advertisements on TV. I had an eye examination
a year ago which was free. I think this is false advertisement as they should have told me
that I had an eye exam the year before and that the eye exam was only free every 2 years!
As I already had the eye exam I had no choice but to pay the $60 as I did not have the time
to argue at that time.
CODE OF ETHICS
Basic Principle 4: All advertisements should be prepared with a due sense of social
responsibility to consumers and to society.
Rule 2 Truthful Presentation: Advertisements should not contain any statement or
visual presentation or create an overall impression which directly or by implication,
omission, ambiguity or exaggerated claim is misleading or deceptive, is likely to
deceive or mislead the consumer, makes false and misleading representation,
abuses the trust of the consumer or exploits his/her lack of experience or knowledge.
(Obvious hyperbole, identifiable as such, is not considered to be misleading).
RESPONSE FROM ADVERTISER: SPECSAVERS
This advert concluded on 28th January 2017. The complainant claims that the TV
advertisement does not state that AA members can get a Free Eye exam every two years.
The TV advert does in fact state the following in regards to the AA Member Benefit of a Free
Eye Exam: "Free eye exam applies to standard eye examination only. One available per AA
member every two years. See Specsavers.co.nz for details."
To substantiate the response form attached, there is also a file which contains the following:
1. Cummins - Approval Email - This is the approval email from Julia at the Commercial
Approval Bureau confirming the ad approval in December 2016
2. Schedule for ASA - a copy of the ad schedule for this specific advert in question
3. Storyboard - This is the story board for the TVC including the Voiceover and Super text
4. TVC File - This is a digital copy of the Television commercial in question.
RESPONSE FROM MEDIA: COMMERCIAL APPROVALS BUREAU
CAB approved this Specsavers commercial on 21/12/16 with a G classification, just before
the Christmas 2016 holiday season.
The commercial promotes a deal where AA members can access no-cost eye examinations,
the conditions for which are clearly stipulated within the ad's graphic disclaimers.
A complainant has overlooked the stated disclaimers, and has subsequently been surprised
during a retail visit.
The advertiser has met a due standard of responsibility in the preparation of their
advertisement, and truthfully presented the nature of their product. As the complaint is a
single instance of a minor oversight that will not affect most consumers, CAB does not
believe the complaint should be upheld.