Leading astray - the dos and don’ts of lead generation advertising

Lead Generation is a common and legitimate way for companies to communicate with the right kind of customer – one who fits their criteria and who is more likely to be interested in what they’re selling.

It’s as simple as that.  Except it isn’t.  Whoever sees your ad needs to know they’re replying to a company who is filtering out potential customers for you.  Sometimes that can be clear from the context.  But sometimes it will be necessary to include more explicit messages so consumers can be clear on what is going on and who they’re dealing with.  The ASA regularly finds ads in breach of the Code where that wasn't clear, and lead generators and the companies they’re working for can be considered jointly responsible.  Don’t let one of those ads be yours!

So, what can be done to keep your ad in the clear?  As in so many matters which fall under the Code, context makes a big difference and the clearer your message, the less likelihood there will be for misunderstanding.

CAP Code rule 2.3 is the relevant one here, and requires that marketing communications “must not falsely claim or imply that the marketer is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession”.  In other words, if you’re a lead generator, be up front about that and make sure your ad doesn’t give the impression that respondents are making direct contact with a company that provides double glazing, financial services or whatever it is that you’re being asked to provide potential customers for.

The ASA has also seen ads for lead generators using language or other content that suggests they are providing financial advice: TFLI Ltd, Fidelitas Group Ltd and Ashteck Media Ltd, or a comparison service that will put the respondent in touch with the provider that will give them the best deal: CheaperWaste Ltd.  If that really is the service you’re providing, no problem.  But if you only put respondents in touch with the one provider who is paying you to find leads, or without providing financial advice because you’re not qualified to, that’s going to be a problem. 

If you stick to the principles of being upfront about what you’re doing and not claiming to be providing things that you aren’t or can’t, that’s a good start – for more detail, see our advice on Lead Generation Marketing and speak to the Copy Advice Team, for bespoke advice.

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