The initiative aimed to offer consumers advice and funds to improve the energy efficiencies of their home by, for example, installing wall insulation. A TV ad to promote the service featured TV presenter Oliver Heath and directed people to a website, www.snugandsave.co.uk, for more information and tips.
An accompanying advertorial that appeared in the national press offered extensive information about the initiative and included claims on the savings that could be made by adopting “green” home improvements, the financing available and possible property price increases.
In a wide-ranging complaint, Crystal Home Improvements, which manufactures and installs windows, questioned whether the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) could substantiate many of its claims. These included the assertion by Heath that his annual gas and electricity bills dropped from £2,500 to £850 a year and that people who improved their homes by installing insulation, double glazing or energy efficient boilers could expect an average increase of 14 per cent in the value of their home.
The DECC admitted that some detail about the claims it was making were omitted from the ad and that it would include these in future campaigns. However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) still banned the ads saying they were “misleading” and that the department must ensure it has sufficient evidence for making savings claims and void implying savings are guaranteed.
The DECC previously had an ad banned in 2010 when it launched a TV and press campaign that used nursery rhymes to warn people about the dangers of climate change. That campaign received almost 950 complaints, making it one of the most complained about ads of all time.