CWH pinged over ad claims


A complaint against Chemist Warehouse advertising has been upheld after the discount giant claimed to be “New Zealand’s #1 online pharmacy”

New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority Complaints Board has upheld a complaint about an advertisement for Chemist Warehouse on www.stuff.co.nz because the pharmacy chain had not substantiated the claim that it was “New Zealand’s #1 online pharmacy”.

The complainant was concerned that the claim was misleading.

Chemist Warehouse had defended the ad, saying that guidelines state that “obvious untruths, exaggeration, puffery or deliberate hyperbole that are unlikely to mislead may be acceptable”.

The chain maintained that the ad fell within this categorisation, and that no claim had been made, therefore the ad could not be misleading. It also noted that the ad was served to consumers via a remarketing tool.

But the Board agreed that the likely consumer takeout of the ad was that Chemist Warehouse was indeed ranked as the number-one online pharmacy in New Zealand.

It said the statement was made as an “absolute factual claim” rather than falling in the category of obvious untruths, puffery or deliberate hyperbole.

The Board also noted that the ad did not contain humour or other indicators which might suggest that the claim about being the country’s number-one online pharmacy was anything other than a statement of fact.

It said that the claim signalled to consumers that Chemist Warehouse was ahead of other similar businesses, and that such a claim needed to be substantiated.

The Board unanimously agreed that the advert was misleading as it “made an absolute claim about the Advertiser’s ranking in comparison to other New Zealand online pharmacy businesses which had not been substantiated”.

It ordered that the ad be removed.

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