ADS FOR AN energy company starring Paul O’Connell won’t be allowed to be shown in their current format after a complaint against them was upheld.
O’Connell is a director and brand ambassador for Pinergy, which is an Irish pay as you go electricity company.
The three ads – which show O’Connell in a ‘family’ setting, such as with a romantic couple and helping a woman with the washing – were aimed at demonstrating energy efficient behaviour.
But a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority said that the ads were “misleading” as they didn’t refer to the daily standing charge and government levy that consumers had to pay.
Instead, the ads said: “You only pay for what you use”, and that Pinergy “lets you control your electricity costs as you go”. They also gave information on how to find out more about Pinergy online and through an information line.
The daily standing charge and government levy were referenced on the Pinergy website.
In their response, Pinergy said that the service was in the infancy and was to educate customers.
They felt that within the context of the advertisements, the claim “You Only Pay, for what you use” was a fair, true and honest statement.
Pinergy also said that they had broken down the government levy and standing charges to a daily rate so that customers could pay for them as they go.
The ASA upheld the complaint, saying that pay as you go electricity services were new and that:
customers’ likely expectation of them would be based on experience of, or knowledge of, PAYG in the telecommunications sector (where there were no additional charges to use). In that context the Committee considered that the phrase ‘you only pay for what you use’, in the absence of a prominent clarification in relation to the levy and standing charges (e.g. by way of a super), was in breach of Sections 2.22 and 2.24 of the Code.
The ads aren’t allowed to be used in their current format.