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Home ventilation company HRV complains about radio ad by competitor DVS

Sep 01, 2023

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Home ventilation company HRV complained an ad from competitor DVS was misleading. Photo / 123rf

Home ventilation company DVS has pulled a radio advertisement boasting its locally designed product, after its main competitor HRV lodged a complaint alleging it was misleading customers.

But while the company says it was arguable the ad didn't breach any standards, it agreed to voluntarily pull it as defending the ad "wasn't worth spending our time on".

The ad, broadcast on Radio Hauraki on May 22, said: "Not all home ventilation systems are created equal. The DVS difference is that their systems are designed here in NZ for our unique conditions."

It went on to say the systems improved the health of more than "a quarter of a million Kiwis".

Cristal Air International, which owns competitor HRV, lodged a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority ASA].

They claimed the ad was misleading because it implied competitor's products weren't locally designed, nor resulted in the same health benefits as the DVS system.

"All of HRV's home ventilation systems are proudly designed and assembled in New Zealand, with all regard to New Zealand conditions," HRV told the authority.

HRV said it and DVS control around 80 per cent of the home ventilation market between them.

While the DVS ad didn't identify HRV as its main competitor by name, given the market dominance of the two companies DVS should have had regard to HRV's products, the complaint said.

The ad ran the risk of denigrating HRV's reputation, suggesting it was an inferior off-shore product, it said.

The ASA engaged with both companies in assessing the complaint. Ultimately, DVS agreed to remove the ad and said it wouldn't be used again.

Under the authority's process, if advertisers voluntarily agree to remove an advertisement, the matter is considered settled. The authority itself offered no view on the ad or whether it breached any standards.

But while DVS removed the ad, that shouldn't be taken as an admission of fault its boss said.

Speaking to NZME, managing director Tony Sandes said the company did not intend to specifically target HRV or damage the reputation of its products.

"It's not what we intended to infer. There are a number of other players in the market that are not New Zealand-designed."

Ultimately, heading into the busiest period of the year for the business, the company deemed defending the ad wasn't worth the effort.

"After speaking to our marketing company, we looked at it and thought we could argue it. But we looked at the complaint and the time and effort involved and to be perfectly frank, it wasn't worth spending our time on."

Sandes wasn't sure exactly how long the ad had been on rotation but said it was only for a short time.

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