A Social Media competition offering the chance to win designer dresses by designer Henry Holland has soured after the advertising watchdog sided with winners who complained they were poor quality and overpriced.
Ice cream brand Magnum ran the “share a selfie” contest along with retailer Asos, offering the chance to win one of 25 designer dresses, which were described as “heavily embellished and painstakingly hand-stitched and worth about £5,000”.
The Advertising Standards Authority received complaints from winners who said the dresses did not live up to their billing as a top-end designer product, with one questioning the £5,000 price tag.
Magnum said the “very delicate” nature of the hand-made dresses meant that there was always a risk of damage during transit or when being worn by a winner.
The ASA was not impressed by this explanation, pointing out that the Henry Holland brand operates in the luxury end of the market and consumers should reasonably expect dresses to be of “high quality with attention paid to detail”.
Magnum also admitted that the cost price of the dresses was about £1,000.
Henry Holland had set the value at £5,000 because they were limited edition, hand-made and tailored to the winners’ measurements. It added that the valuation could have been “significantly higher than this”.
The ASA said the way the price in the promotion had been reached was “unsatisfactory” and the formula used was not a “sufficiently robust way to determine absolute value”.
“We considered that, given the problems reported with the dresses, the disappointment felt by the complainants was not unreasonable and concluded that the prizes had not been awarded as described because they did not match the expectation created by the implications of the marketing and the value stated in the ads had not been substantiated,” said the ASA.