ASA bans Samsung LED TV ads

September 3, 2009 | 10:25

Tags: #asa #led-backlight #led-tv

Companies: #advertising-standards-authority #samsung

Samsung has been roundly spanked by the Advertising Standards Authority, the UK's marketing self-regulatory body, for misleading claims that its latest range of displays are "LED TVs."

As reported over on EngadgetHD, the company has been pulled up over a series of magazine adverts - as well as a TV advert - which advised consumers they were in for a treat thanks to "the ultra slim Samsung LED TV." As two fun-loving complainants pointed out, the only problem was the fact that it's a common or garden LCD screen.

The confusion - or misleading marketing, depending on whether you're Samsung or the ASA - comes from the fact that while the display technology powering the screens is LCD, the lighting uses LED technology rather than the more common cold cathode lamp system used by most other TVs. While this, in Samsung's words, produces "sharper images, deeper blacks and brighter colours," it doesn't constitute an entirely new class of television.

Accordingly, the ASA has upheld the complaints against both the TV and magazine advertising runs, stating that they breached rules in misleading advertising and truthfulness in advertising. Stating that the phrase "LED TV" "was not adopted consistently throughout the industry" despite Samsung's claims to the contrary, the ASA ruled that the adverts "implied the TV displays were comprised totally of LEDs similar to some outdoor displays when that was not the case" and were thus likely to mislead.

The ruling means that Samsung will no longer be allowed to refer to its screens as "LED TVs" in UK advertising - unless, you know, they actually are LED TVs - and neither will it be allowed to run its current adverts in their present form. Although the adjudication doesn't cover the company's website, it's probably advisable if it makes some modifications there, too.

Do you believe that the ASA were right to call Samsung on its claims, or is the distinction between "LED TV" and "LED LCD TV" too fine for an average consumer to care about? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

Updated: Samsung has issued the following statement, clarifying that the ruling allows them to continue using the term LED TV within certain parameters.

Samsung welcomes the clarification the ASA decision gives in relation to our LED TV advertisements. We are pleased that we can continue to use the term LED TV as we believe it will continue to be the commonly used industry term. We appreciate that more clarification is required in relation to the LED usage within the product and will ensure this is clearly outlined in future communication.
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