E.ON Energy reprimanded for overstating company heritage

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

An advert for international energy supplier E.ON has been banned by the ASA for perpetuating the "misleading" claim that it had been operating for 70 years.

The spot, seen in regional press at the beginning of February, clearly stated that "10 energy companies have gone bust in the last year" while E.ON had been around "70 years and still going strong". This was challenged by a viewer, who noted that in its current form E.ON was incorporated in 2000.

E.ON's response was that it "was intended to promote interest in E.ON as an energy supplier." According to the company, in focus groups and anecdotally, "consumers did understand their history, particularly that they were once a regional electricity board."

The "70 years" statistic was based on the signing of the Electricity Act 1947, which nationalised hundreds of energy organisations into area electricity boards. The ASA said customers would understand the claim as meaning "a period of continuing trade for 70 years."

It was therefore misleading, and breached CAP rules 3.1, for misleading advertising, and 3.7, for substantiation. 

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