Lidl leaflet and ‘plastic negative’ fake tan fall foul of advertising watchdog

A LEAFLET ADVERTISING a home office desk from budget supermarket Lidl has been found to breach Irish advertising standards.

It’s one of 18 advertisements across television, print, online and social media found to be in breach of the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) Code.

The complaints upheld related to a range of issues including promotional marketing practices and environmental claims.

The leaflet for the Lidl desk featured an image of the desk with a storage unit attached. It was advertised at €49.99. The complainant visited their local Lidl store to purchase the desk and, on purchasing, discovered that the storage unit was not included with the desk and had to be purchased separately.

The ASAI Complaints Committee noted that the storage unit had been separately advertised underneath the desk image, it believed that the overall impression created by the advertisement was that desk and storage unit were sold as one unit at the advertised price.

The Complaints Committee is a completely independent arm of the ASAI and is responsible for considering and adjudicating on complaints submitted by the public, by an organisation, by a government department, or any other person or body.

Lidl has been ordered to pull the ad.


The committee also upheld a complaint about a claim by VeganTan, a fake tan with no animal products.

A claim on the company’s website said that its bottle packaging was “plastic negative.” It read: “Our bottles may look like plastic, but they’re actually made from sugar polymer and reclaimed plastic from the ocean. You won’t find any plastic here! The complete range of VeganTan products carry a plastic negative footprint.”

The complainant said that bottles made from sugar cane created plastic and this resulted in the exact same product the advertisers were claiming not to use.

VeganTan said it was awarded “plastic negative” status by RePurpose Global, and provided the committee with a copy of the contract showing this. VeganTan said it paid a fee to RePurpose Global on every single bottle of VeganTan sold to maintain this status.

The committee said it accepted the premise behind subscribing to RePurpose Global, but it did not consider that the subscription in itself was adequate substantiation for the claim “you won’t find any plastic here”, deeming the claim potentially misleading.

The VeganTan website has since been amended.

Sicín Sásta

Chicken producer Sicín Sásta was ordered to pull a television advert on the grounds that it was likely to mislead by omission.

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The advert features two men standing outside with a flock of chickens roaming around in front of them.

One of the men says: “Don’t worry Fitzy, our chickens are free. Hatched here on the farm and entitled to roam as they please. It’s all a part of what makes them happy.”

The ASAI received two complaints about the advertisement. Both complainants said the advert implied that the Sicín Sásta product range was exclusively free range, when the range was made up of two product tiers – a free-range product and a product called “farmers’ own” that was not free range, and which the complainants considered to be “battery” chickens.

The complainants said that some stores only stocked the farmers’ own tier, meaning consumers could assume that they were buying a free-range product when they were not.

The Complaints Committee said the advertisement had not referenced product differentiations. As the impression created applied to both offerings rather than to one product tier only, the Committee considered that the advertisement was likely to mislead by omission and was in breach of the Code.

The full list of complaints can be read here.


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