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PC World notebook ad 'misleading', ASA rules

'Connect anywhere' claim slapped

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) will tomorrow slap Dixons Store Group's wrist over a "misleading" TV advert run on behalf of the Dixons-owned PC World chain promoting Intel's Centrino wireless notebook technology.

According to a confidential copy of the ruling, seen by The Register ahead of publication and confirmed by the Authority, the ASA upheld 65 complaints from consumers which addressed two claims made by the offending ad, for a Packard Bell laptop.

The ad, broadcast in September, stated the notebook's Wi-Fi support would enable it to get a "connection to the Internet wherever you are". Citing Wi-Fi hotspot coverage information from the Intel website and from PC World's own web presence, the ASA said the claim was "strong [and] unqualified", and that viewers would "receive a misleading impression of the availability of wireless connectivity from the ad".

The ASA also upheld a complaint that the ad had "implied no further equipment would need to be purchased to access the Internet", despite the fact that PC World's own customer helpline had admitted to the organisation's investigators that "items such as a wireless modem and router need to be purchased separately, at a cost of between £49 and £89".

The ASA ruled the PC World ad had breached four CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules covering misleading claims, the provision of evidence to back up claims, implications made in advertisements, and the qualification of claims made. Dixons Store Group was told not to show the ad again in its current form. ®

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