Claims on the hotel website www.hilton.com, stated “ANY WEEKEND ANYWHERE SALE, SAVE UP TO 33%”. Below that were nine suggested destinations, including Rome, Barcelona and Dubai, and a “What To Do” search filter that allowed users to filter destinations according to a number of activities such as “City breaks” and “Golf”. Text in the small print at the bottom of the page stated “Offer is subject to availability at participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Book between December 9, 2013 and January 31, 2014. Stay on weekends between December 13, 2012 and December 282014 [sic] except as otherwise indicated”.
The complainant challenged whether the claim "ANY WEEKEND ANYWHERE" was misleading, because the promotion only applied to UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Hilton International Hotels (UK) Ltd said the word “weekend" qualified the word “anywhere” because it immediately alerted the consumer to the fact that the scope of the promotion extended to any hotel to which a consumer was reasonably likely to consider travelling for a weekend. They considered that consumers would therefore understand that “anywhere” meant any hotel location within range of the UK for a weekend break. They said the promotion targeted only UK consumers by using the English language and sterling prices for the hotels. They also pointed out that the quick-search filter-panel feature on the web page included “city breaks”, “golf” and “spa”, and stated that those features would not be in keeping with inter-continental travel. They said the hotels featured on the web page were all within the UK or a short-haul from the UK, which they considered reinforced for consumers that the scope of the promotion did not extend to long-haul travel.
They stated that the terms at the foot of the web page clarified the details of the promotion that consumers would expect to be informed about and provided clarification for the main page content, including the fact that the offer was only available for participating hotels within the UK, Europe Middle East and Africa. They did not consider that that term, nor any of the other small print terms such as the promotion dates, needed to be included within the claim “ANY WEEKEND ANYWHERE”, as consumers would naturally understand that such a claim needed to be considered in the context of the web page content as a whole.
The ASA considered that "ANY WEEKEND ANYWHERE SALE, SAVE UP TO 33%" was an absolute claim and that consumers were likely to understand that the promotion applied to any hotel within the Hilton Group, regardless of whether it could be classed as long or short-haul travel distance from the UK. Although we noted that the ad included small print at the bottom of the page that stated "Offer is subject to availability at participating hotels within the Hilton Worldwide portfolio of brands in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Africa", we considered that that contradicted rather than clarified the "ANY WEEKEND ANYWHERE" claim. Because of that, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. (Misleading advertising) and 3.9 3.9 Marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify. (Qualification).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Hilton International Hotels (UK) Ltd not to state that the offer was available anywhere if that was not the case.