Insights Advertising Standards Authority warns marketers over ads making money-saving claims amid the cost-of-living crisis


The ASA’s central message to marketers is that amid a cost-of-living crisis they should be particularly sensitive to the fact that consumers are worried about paying their bills and looking for ways to cut back and save money.

The ASA has banned four ads for plug-in mini heaters, which claimed, directly or indirectly, that mini heaters were a viable replacement to conventional heating via gas, implying that they would save consumers money while quickly and efficiently heating a room.

The ASA sought views from the Energy Saving Trust, which pointed out that gas is currently cheaper than electricity, and that it is more efficient to heat a room with one radiator than with a plug-in mini heater.

Despite being from different advertisers, all the ads used images of the same product. When the ASA raised concerns about these ads to the advertisers, none of them responded. The ASA made it clear that “[t]his isn’t good enough”.

The ASA stressed that the rules are clear and ads must not be misleading and should be responsible. Ads for products such as plug-in mini heaters should ensure that they are not making inaccurate claims or exaggerating how effective they are. They should take care not to mislead around how much they cost to run or imply that they are more cost efficient than central heating without sufficient evidence to back up the claim.

The ASA says that it will be keeping a close eye on claims around how consumers can save money on their bills, especially heating. It will also take compliance action in the coming weeks to ensure that consumers are protected and that ads that do not comply with these rulings are removed.

Essentially, the ASA says, the rulings are a notice to advertisers that the regulator will not hesitate to ban ads that break the rules. To read the ASA’s press release in full and to access the rulings, click here.