Carrolls Irish Gift Shop reprimanded by advertising watchdog for selling product that was not Irish

Claim that a scarf was the ‘perfect Irish gift’ was misleading, the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland ruled, as the scarf was not made in Ireland

An advertisement which claimed that a scarf was the “perfect Irish gift” has been deemed as misleading by the advertising watchdog.

The Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) has upheld a complaint against the well-known tourist mecca Carrolls Irish Gifts, which has 14 stores across the country.

A member of the public complained to the ASAI that the scarf was not of Irish origin and not made in Ireland. Therefore it was misleading to suggest that it was the “perfect Irish gift”.

Carrolls argued that people came to their shops because their products had an “aspect intrinsically linked to Ireland” therefore making their gifts Irish gifts.


Carrolls acknowledged the scarf was not made in Ireland, but stated that its traditional stitch designs originated in Ireland centuries ago. The scarf was drawn from a traditional Celtic tartan clothing pattern style.

The scarf clearly showed from its manufacturer’s origin that it was not made in Ireland. Therefore the wording of the advertisement online, in store and on the product was “honest and truthful”, Carrolls claimed.

The ASAI complaints committee rejected Carrolls’ suggestion and stated that the term “Irish gift” with the product, “in the absence of qualifying information on the product webpage regarding its provenance” had the potential to mislead. The ASAI did not mention the name of the scarf in question. It requested that the advertisement not be shown in the same format again.

The ASAI upheld a complaint against Harvey Norman which stated that a Kaiser Baas Revo E3 electric scooter retailing at €499 was “perfect for commuters”. A complainant stated that this was untrue as at the time of the advertisement in May regulations had been brought in to licence and tax scooters.

The complaints committee upheld the complaint on the basis that scooters have become more difficult to licence, tax and insure. In such circumstances, the committee considered that at the time the advertising appeared it was misleading to suggest that the product was ‘perfect for commuters’.

Nine of the 11 cases were upheld in full and one of the 11 cases was not upheld. Advertisements across social media, online, outdoor, direct mail, television and point-of-sale were found to be in breach of the ASAI Code on grounds related to misleading, substantiation, recognisability and availability.

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Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times