A national press ad for a travel company stated "The First Choice for Single Travellers".
Friendship Travel Ltd challenged whether the claim "The First Choice for Single Travellers" was misleading and could be substantiated.
Solitair Ltd said the brand "Solitair - First choice for single travellers" had been the registered trademark since 2008 and provided evidence to demonstrate that. They said no issues had been raised when they registered the trademark and they had not received any complaints about it since. They said the claim did not relate to sales, but indicated that Solitair's services were the perfect fit for single travellers and they believed Solitair was the best choice for single travellers. They said repeat booking figures were approximately 60%.
Although the ASA acknowledged that "Solitair - First choice for single travellers" was a registered trademark, we considered that consumers were nonetheless likely to interpret the claim to be a comparative claim, whereby consumers would expect Solitair to have a higher turnover or more unit sales from single travellers than their competitors within the travel market. Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated that was the case, we concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 3.1 Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.7 3.7 Before distributing or submitting a marketing communication for publication, marketers must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation. (Substantiation) and 3.38 3.38 Marketing communications that include a comparison with an unidentifiable competitor must not mislead, or be likely to mislead, the consumer. The elements of the comparison must not be selected to give the marketer an unrepresentative advantage. (Other comparisons).
The ad must not appear in its current form. We told the advertisers to include a prominently displayed disclaimer to the registered trademark "Solitair - First choice for single travellers", which made clear that they did not have a higher turnover or more unit sales than other single traveller holiday companies.