Dyson ads banned by ASA for 'misleading' comparisons

Dyson's national press ad and YouTube video to promote a cordless vacuum cleaner have been banned by the ads watchdog for making "misleading" comparisons with a rival manufacturer.

The comparisons with Gtech prompted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority from the product’s maker, Grey Technology, prompting the ASA to launch an investigation.

The press ad, seen in December 2013, showed an image of a wooden floor sprinkled with fine white powder and showed two vacuum cleaners, a Dyson DC59 and a Gtech AiRam, showing that the Dyson had performed better.

The text said: "Dyson has over 10x the suction of Gtech… DC59 Animal sucks up as much dust as even a corded vacuum."

The YouTube video, titled "Dyson DC59 cleans up against Gtech AirRam – Official Dyson video", made various claims comparing the two vacuum cleaners. The video showed Dyson’s director of engineering describing a comparison test and why the Dyson is superior.

Grey Technology complained that the ads were misleading because the test did not reflect normal household cleaning conditions and was unsuited to the design of the AirRam.

When contacted by the ASA, Dyson said their tests and those commissioned by an independent third party showed that the DC59 was superior to the AirRam across different surfaces. 

Dyson admitted they had tested both machines in-house, and had not tested them externally because there was little difference between test locations.

After taking expert advice, the ASA said the ads should not appear again in their current form.

In its ruling, published today, the ASA said: "...we had concerns regarding the comparative test results provided by Dyson across all IEC test standards, as they had not been conducted head-to-head in the same test house.

"Therefore, because we considered the ads conflated suction power and pick-up performance and suggested that the DC59’s pick-up performance was ten times better than the AirRam, we concluded that they were misleading."

A spokeswoman for Dyson said: "This dispute is over a two-year-old YouTube video which we have happily removed.

"As guided by the ASA, back to back testing on our latest cordless technology shows our machines possess at least ten times the suction, and pick up a total of 70 per cent more than the G-tech Air Ram across the three floor types tested."

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