ASA bans Amazon children's headphone ads for unsafe volume limit claims

Amazon's product listings for two children's headphone brands have been banned by the ASA

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has told Amazon to reword product listings on its UK site after a children’s safety charity complained about toys sold through the retailer.

The watchdog investigated following complaints from The Quiet Coalition, a US organisation that advocates reduced noise pollution for “a quieter world”. The organisation alleged that product listings for Zagg iFrogz Little Rockerz headphones and Griffin KaZoo Penguin Headphones, products designed for children, included incorrect claims about built-in sound control features.

The listing for the Zagg product claimed that it contained ‘a built-in volume limiter that keeps sound to a safe 85 decibels’, while KaZoo’s listing said a similar feature meant the headphones were ‘safe for young ears’ because it included an 85dB volume limit.

According to the NHS, 85dB is as loud as busy traffic, and almost as loud as a motorcycle engine.

Amazon Europe Core Sarl said that it had seen evidence in support of the claims from Zagg, including documents from the World Health Organisation (WHO) that stated that the recommended safe volume level was below 85 dB. It had not received any evidence in support of the claims made by KaZoo about the safety of its products.

The ASA said that the language used in the product listings meant “consumers would understand the claims to mean that 85dB was the safe and recommended maximum sound limit for children’s headphones.” It said that the WHO guidance cited by Amazon was insufficient, because it did not distinguish between safe volume levels for children and adults.

“Because the ads presented that volume limit as “safe” and “recommended” for children, we considered that the claims were irresponsible,” the watchdog said. Amazon has been told that the product descriptions must not appear again in their current form, and that future ads must not describe 85dB as a safe limit for children’s headphones unless it had “robust substantiation” proving such a claim.

Amazon has fallen foul of the ASA in the past, and was recently told to reword category headings and product descriptions on its UK retail site, after the watchdog said it was “misleading” consumers about weight loss products.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.