ASA Adjudication on MyCityDeal Ltd
MyCityDeal Ltd t/a
1 Liverpool Street
11 May 2011
Internet (sales promotion)
Number of complaints:
Two Google sponsored search ads, and one internet banner ad, for Groupon:
a. The first sponsored link stated "70% Off Train Tickets From London to ... for up to 70% Less. Get Train Tickets & Save now! [website address]".
b. The second sponsored link stated "Train Ticket 70% Off Get London's Best Travel Deals and Train Tickets. Save Today! [website address]".
c. The internet banner ad stated "Train Ticket 70% Off - Get Cambridge's Travel Deals and Train Tickets. Save today! [website address]".
1. Ferries Trains Planes Ltd challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were misleading, because having followed the links through to the Groupon website they were unable to find any offer of train tickets for sale.
2. One member of the public challenged whether ad (c) was misleading for the same reason.
CAP Code (Edition 12)
Groupon explained that their Google sponsored search ads and banner ads were created and controlled by the German branch of Groupon. They added that until the ASA notified them of the complaints, they had not had any involvement in the creation of those ads.
1. Groupon said that the responsibility of approving the sponsored search ads needed to remain in Germany, but Groupon UK would train their German counterparts in the requirements of the CAP Code so that they could apply the relevant rules when creating future campaigns.
2. Groupon said that they recognised they needed to approve such banner ads to ensure that the content was relevant.
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA noted that responsibility for the ads rested with the German branch of Groupon. We welcomed Groupon's assurance that they would train their German counterparts in the requirements of the CAP Code to ensure that future Google sponsored search ads complied with the Code, and that they would ensure that they approved all future banner ads featuring sales promotions.
We considered that consumers would interpret the claims in the ads to mean that, on following the links to Groupon's website, they would be able to get up to 70% off train tickets. We noted that we had not seen any evidence that those offers were available on Groupon's website, or that they had been taken up by consumers. Because we had not seen any such evidence, we concluded that the ads were misleading.
Ads (a), (b) and (c) breached CAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising) and 3.7 (Substantiation).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Groupon not to advertise sales promotions if they could not demonstrate they were genuine.
Adjudication of the ASA Council (Non-broadcast)