A TV advert for retailer Oak Furniture Land has been banned after its claim to use solid wood was described by a watchdog as misleading.
The furniture business, which has stores in Gateshead, Stockton and York, claims in its TV ads that there is ‘no veneer in 'ere', implying its furniture is all made from solid hardwood.
A voice over in the ad describes one of the advertiser’s products as a ‘solid hardwood dining set’. One of the characters then says ‘always remember to ask, "is there real veneer in ‘ere"’?
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But following a complaint from a building firm, the Advertising Standards Agency has banned the retailer from showing the advert again and from describing or implying that its furniture has no veneer or is made from solid hardwood.
Oak Furniture Land, claims that veneer, plywood and chipboard are not used in construction. But it has admitted that it uses what it calls an ‘oak wrap’.
The legs are made from gluing together small pieces of oak wrapped in a thin layer of the wood.
The FAQ section of the firm’s website features the question: "Is your furniture really 100 per cent solid hardwood?". The response stated is: "All of our cabinet furniture is made from 100 per cent solid hardwood from top to toe; veneer, plywood and chipboard are never used".
The ASA said: “While we acknowledged that the outer layer covered a higher quality base material than was the case with some other veneered furniture, we considered that the “oak wrap”, in effect, functioned as a veneer.
“Furthermore, while we agreed with the advertiser that consumers would not expect whole units of furniture to be whittled down from a single piece of wood, we considered they would be unlikely to expect from the claims “100 per cent solid hardwood” and “solid hardwood” that parts of the furniture would actually be made from numerous smaller segments of wood glued together.”
Oak Furniture Land said customers would understand ‘no veneer’ meant products did not contain a layer of hardwood surrounding cheap chipboard or MDF.
The firm says it will appeal the ruling and challenge the decision, if necessary, in the courts.
Chief operating officer Terry King said: "We are genuinely shocked and baffled at the ASA’s decision to challenge matters which are central to our advertising campaign.
"We firmly stand by our promise that we use only 100 per cent solid hardwood in our furniture.
"The current language we use in our advertising is commonly and widely used across the retail industry, to help the consumer make a clear distinction between “solid”, “no-veneer” products, and furniture made with poorer quality materials – covered with thin wood or man-made veneers.
"Consequently, the ASA’s decision could have far-reaching implications for the furniture retail industry as a whole."