Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the Advertising Standards Authority.
Both the ASA and CAP regard “No. 1” claims as being equivalent to a “best-selling” claim, unless the context of the ad clearly indicates another meaning.
Whilst there may be situations in which the ASA would interpret a “No.1” claim as being the subjective opinion of the advertiser, in practice, such claims will almost always be regarded as objective. In 2013 the ASA held that evidence relating to awards won by a letting agent, along with information relating to their branches, staff, vehicles, internet data and lettings boards did not substantiate their claim to be “Derby’s No.1 Award Winning Agent” (IMS Lettings Ltd, 17 April 2013). See Property: Sales and board counting and Property: Sales and the use of website data.
The ASA has accepted ABC audited circulation figures in support of a local newspaper’s claim to be “No.1” in its area, where that claim was qualified by a reference to circulation figures (Northcliffe Media Ltd t/a Gloucestershire Media Ltd, 21 October 2009). See Circulation and Distribution claims.
Even where marketers do intend a “No.1” claim to denote that a product or service is the best-selling on the market, they should take care to ensure that they hold sufficient evidence to prove that claim. In 2010, the ASA held that in the absence of robust comparative data showing the unit sales of the advertiser’s product and those of its competitors, a claim to be “Britain’s No.1 System”, had not been substantiated (Beautonics Face & Body Salon t/a Beautonics, 15 September 2010). However, in some circumstances, advertisers may be able to substantiate a “No.1” claim without holding evidence relating to their competitors’ sales. In 2011, the ASA accepted evidence relating to the market share of a particular electronic timing system (ETS) from the governing bodies involved in pigeon racing, because it amounted to a robust independent comparison (Deister Electronic (UK) Ltd t/a Unikon, 13 April 2011).
See Types of Claims: “Best-selling”.
Jewellery Quarter Bullion Ltd, 18 September 2013