ASA Non-broadcast Adjudication: Stena Line Ltd
Stena Line Ltd
10 October 2001
Holidays and travel
Mustoe Merriman Herring Levy
Irish Ferries Ltd objected to a national press advertisement for a ferry service. It claimed "With the lowest prices, the fastest ships and our award-winning service, its no wonder more people travel with us to Ireland." The complainants challenged whether the advertisers offered:
1. the lowest prices;
2. the fastest ships; and
3. an award-winning service.
CAP Code (Edition 11)
The Authority was concerned that despite several requests the advertisers had taken four weeks to send a substantive reply and reminded them of their obligation to respond promptly to the Authority's enquiries.
1. Complaint upheld
The advertisers sent a copy of their brochure, which included their prices, and stated that their fares were cheaper than Irish Ferries. They asserted that the fare by which the complainants challenged their claim was introduced after the advertisement was published. The advertisers said that their car+1, car+2 and Family Fare were all cheaper than Irish Ferries. The Authority noted that the advertisement appeared on 15 July and the complainants' fares were valid from 1 July. The Authority considered that the advertisers had not substantiated their claim to have the lowest fares and asked them not to repeat it.
2. Complaint upheld
The advertisers sent technical specifications for their ferries, the Stena HSS Explorer and the Stena Forwarder, which stated the speed of each vessel. They said that their Fast Ferry and Ferry Guide showed that crossing times for the central and southern corridor routes were less than those advertised by the complainants. The Authority understood from material submitted by the complainants that both the advertisers and the complainants used fast craft and conventional ferries for sailing to Ireland. It also understood that the complainants' conventional ferries travelled at a faster speed than did the advertisers. Because it considered that the advertisement implied that all of the advertisers' ferries were faster than their competitors' the Authority asked them to remove that implication from future advertisements.
3. Complaint not upheld
The advertisers sent evidence of awards presented by Worldchoice Holidays, the Travel Trust Association and Travel Bulletin trade magazine. The Authority considered that the advertisers had substantiated the claim.