As you know, we have been running a series of adverts in the yachting press comparing our HPX and MPX Gore Tex products with Henri-Lloyd’s TP2000 and Gill’s 02 Offshore Range. We used two independent research establishments, both of which are leaders in their field.
Breathability – Hohenstein Institute, Germany Their work simulates the real effect of consumers inside garments and how effect of consumers inside garments and how effective the fabrics are under real conditions. Their ‘skin model’ test as it is known is the only ISO recognised test for breathability (ISO11092) and is used by all reputable EU clothing standards, including military ones.
Durability – STR, USA There is however no recognised international standard for durability of waterproofing. The test we chose was STR’s wet flex test which is conducted in upright washers with 2lb loads, run continuously and tested every 24hours for leakage at 1psi over a 3 minute period. The test protocol is based on a modified ISO811 and ISO6330, to simulate wear conditions for materials used in waterproof outerwear, and correlated to actual field test conditions.
Both Henri and Gill complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the advert that we put together was unfair on two counts:
1 That the basis of the comparison gave Musto an unfair advantage and asserted that Musto had neither identified the tested products nor tested our competitor’s comparable products
2 The suitability of the tests, in that the tests had been conducted on the fabrics and not the whole products.
Under the first complaint, we believed that because we clearly showed “Gore Tex” and “Ocean Technology” on our graph, it was quite obvious that those results applied to all Gore Tex and OTEC products, including those of Lloyd and Gill. The ASA however ruled that we should have specifically tested Lloyd and Gill Gore Tex and OTEC and named Lloyd and Gill on the graph.
Under the second complaint, the ASA acknowledged that our testing was valid and usable if we were talking specifically about fabrics, and in that context our advert was not at all misleading, proving that our Gore Tex fabrics were substantially more durable than both Lloyd and Gill’s non Gore Tex Offshore fabrics.
However, our summary in the advert concludes that our testing proved that our “products” were more durable. The ASA ruled that because our testing did not include any pieces which had been seamed and seam taped, we were wrong to draw the conclusion that we did.
The overall result of the ASA ruling is that we have been asked to withdraw the advert.
We have to accept the ruling the ASA have made, and as such will withdraw the advert.
On their ruling on the first complaint, we understand that to be technically correct, we should have tested their Gore Tex products as well, and put them on the graph. We will put that down as a lesson learnt for the future.
On the second complaint, we can also understand the ASA’s ruling, and looking back on it would have to agree with them. However, we are also very pleased that they felt our testing was valid on the fabric front, so we did prove to their satisfaction that the Gore Tex fabrics are substantially more durable than either TP2000 or Gill O2. We also know that Gore’s seam tape is so much better than anything else available, that if we had have tested taped pieces the result would have been the same, Gore Tex well in front of everything else.
We could now go and get Lloyd and Gill Gore Tex tested, repeat the testing of the other products on taped pieces, and re run the advert. We now know that the ASA would find this acceptable, and would allow us to do it.
At the moment, we have decided not to do that. We have made our point we think, and provided Lloyd and Gill stop making misleading claims about their non Gore Offshore products, we will leave it at that.
If you have any questions, or want any more detail about