Complaint: 17/079

Harvey Norman NZ, Television

Details

Complainants
advertisers
Harvey Norman NZ
Year
2017
Media
Television
Product
Household Goods
Clauses
Decision
Not Upheld
ASA Links
Website Listing
Decision Document

Document





COMPLAINT NUMBER
17/079
COMPLAINANT
P Askin
ADVERTISER
Harvey Norman NZ
ADVERTISEMENT
Harvey Norman NZ, Television
DATE OF MEETING
11 April 2017
OUTCOME
Not Upheld


SUMMARY

The 30-second Harvey Norman television advertisement promoted a "huge overstock
clearance on now." It included TVs, whiteware, cookware and appliances and referred to a
"Massive $96,000,000 category clear-out" and big markdowns on distressed stock and ex
demo models. The voiceover and said that the goods on sale "all gotta go."

The Complainant was concerned the advertisement promoted a $96 million clearance sale
when, in their view, Harvey Norman would not carry even $20 million in stock country-wide.
The Complainant said the advertisement was misleading.

The Complaints Board said telling people the value of the stock, was a technique to highlight
the size of the sale. The Advertiser said the value of the stock in the advertisement was
accurate. The Advertiser was willing to provide details of the stock value to the Complaints
Board in confidence but the Complaints Board confirmed it does not accept confidential
substantiation.

The Complaints Board agreed the likely consumer take-out of the advertisement was Harvey
Norman Electrical was having a large sale - with consumers able to access more
information about individual price savings in-store or online.

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.)



17/079

The Complaint
The Complaints Board first turned to the Complainant's concern that the Advertiser was
misleadingly promoting a clearance sale of $98 million (sic) of overstocked goods The
Complainant said the Advertiser would not carry even $20 million in stock over the whole
country.

The Advertiser's response
The Complaints Board then considered the Advertiser's response. The Advertiser said the
stock holding had been calculated prior to the creation of the advertisement and relevant
managers had verified its value. The Advertiser said a confidential post-sale stockholding
statement would verify that the dollar level in the advertisement was not an over-inflated
figure but that such a statement would be confidential and so was not supplied.

The Media's response
The Complaints Board turned to the response from the Commercial Approvals Bureau (CAB)
on behalf of the media. CAB said it had approved the advertisement with a "G" classification.
CAB noted that the Complainant believed the $96 million figure relating to overstocked
goods on sale was a misleading overstatement because total stock value could not exceed
$20 million. They had not provided a source for their estimate. CAB said only Harvey
Norman could verify the value of stock.

The Complaints Board Discussion
The Complaints Board noted the Advertiser was prepared to supply the commercially
sensitive data related to the value of stock in the clearance sale, provided it was not made
public in the decision. The Complaints Board confirmed it was not able to receive
confidential information as it published the complaint and the responses as part of the
decision.

In the absence of data to confirm the size of the stock clearance, the Complaints Board
discussed whether the reference to $96 million was likely to mislead consumers. The
Complaints Board agreed the reference was used to emphasis the scale of the sale across
categories, including floor stock and demonstration models.

The Complaints Board agreed the likely consumer take-out would be that Harvey Norman
was having a large sale, with consumers able to access more information about individual
price savings in-store or online.

The Complaints Board said the advertisement did not meet the threshold to mislead
consumers and had been prepared with a due sense of social responsibility. The
advertisement was not in breach of Principle 4 or Rule 2 of the Code of Ethics.

Accordingly, the Complaints Board ruled the complaint was Not Upheld.




DESCRIPTION OF ADVERTISEMENT

The 30-second Harvey Norman television advertisement promoted a "huge overstock
clearance on now." It included TVs, whiteware, cookware and appliances and referred to
"Massive $96,000,000 category clear-out" and big markdowns on distressed stock and ex
demo models. The voiceover and said that the goods on sale "all gotta go." The
advertisement ended with the Harvey Norman logo, with the words "instore/online/mobile,
stores nationwide" followed by contact details.

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17/079
COMPLAINT FROM P ASKIN

Harvey Norman advertised $98millon overstock stock clearance sale. This would be
misleading advertising as would not even carry $20 million in stock over the whole country.
It's misleading.

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: HARVEY NORMAN NZ

The stock holding was calculated prior to the creation of the advertisement.
The relevant Product Manager/s and the Marketing Manager for the Electrical Department
have verified the value of stock holdings.
We can provide a current (ie post sale) stock holding to verify that the dollar level promoted
in the advertisement is not an overly inflated figure as suggested by the complainant;
however, this would be confidential information & therefore not supplied here.

A copy of the script:

AUDIO

VIDEO
NO SWC Top
NO Top

HN logo held throughout
Jingle under Announcer
Lower frame banner throughout: No Interest

& No Repayments for 15 MONTHS

STOREWIDE

Small graphic to be on screen from

beginning to end of commercial

(exclusions to be in larger font to

standout):


Finance terms: Excludes all Apple

products, gaming consoles, Samsung

Galaxy S7 range, Sonos, Miele

Whiteware/Cookware & Outlet Stores.

Minimum purchase $500. Credit criteria,

fees, terms and conditions apply. See store

for details
Harvey Norman Electrical's HUGE
Image: Overstock Clearance.jpg
Overstock Clearance on now!
Flash: On Now!

Small text: Excludes Miele
3



17/079

Whiteware/Cookware, Sonos & Outlet
Stores.

Graphic (Hold): MASSIVE $96,000,000
Don't miss our massive ninety six mil ion
dollar category clearout of:
Graphic (Hold): Category Clearout (Put this
text in Hazard tape)


Graphic: TVs
TVs
Graphic: Audio
Audio
Graphic: Whiteware
Whiteware
Graphic: Cookware
Cookware
Graphic: Small Appliances
Small Appliances
Graphic: BIG MARKDOWNS

Graphic: Distressed Stock - Demo Models
AND BIG MARKDOWNS on Distressed
- End-Of-Lines
stock, Demo Models and End of lines!!
Graphic: PLUS BONUS Harvey Norman
PLUS BONUS Harvey Norman Gift Cards
Gift Cards (Show images HN-CARD100-
on selected Fisher & Paykel, AEG,
AC.jpg & HN-CARD200-AC.jpg) on
Electrolux, Westinghouse, Kelvinator &
selected Whiteware
Haier Whiteware!
Logos: Fisher & Paykel, AEG, Electrolux,

Westinghouse, Kelvinator & Haier.

Small term: Gift Card is issued on delivery

of goods. Not redeemable for cash and
cannot be used in the transaction in which it

is issued.
Buy now, pay later!
Graphic: Buy Now & Pay Later
With no interest and no repayments for
Graphic: No Interest & No Repayments
FIFTEEN months!
Graphic: FOR 15 MONTHS

Graphic: STOREWIDE
Harvey Norman Electrical's HUGE
Overstock Clearance!!
Image: Overstock Clearance.jpg
Its all gotta go!
Flash: Its all gotta go!

Small text: Excludes Miele
SWC_012 Tail
Whiteware/Cookware, Sonos & Outlet
Jingle Tail Out
Stores.
Add Tag to SWC Tail


RESPONSE FROM MEDIA: COMMERCIAL APPROVALS BUREAU

CAB approved this Harvey Norman commercial on 27/02/17 with a 'G' classification.

The commercial promotes an in-store overstock clearance, noting that the affected product
categories amount to $96m.

4



17/079
A complainant believes this $96m figure is a misleading overstatement, and has presented
the opinion that the total stock value could not exceed $20m. A source for this estimate is
not provided.

Since the figure quoted by Harvey Norman can only be verified by themselves, CAB will
defer our response in favour of details provided by the advertiser.

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