Two issues were investigated, one of which was Upheld. The other was informally resolved after the advertiser agreed to amend or withdraw their advertising.
A website for the British Airways i360 tourist attraction in Brighton, britishairwaysi360.com, seen in July 2017. The website included text on the home page that stated the British Airways i360 was “… the world’s tallest moving observation tower …”.
The complainant, who believed there were a number of observational towers with moving platforms that were taller than the i360, challenged whether the claim “the world’s tallest moving observation tower” was misleading.
Brighton i360 Ltd t/a British Airways i360 said they did not claim to have the highest moving observation tower but the tallest, defined as "measuring a specified distance from top to bottom". They said the "tallest moving observation tower" referred to the distance from which the British Airways i360 pod travelled – from ground level to 138 m. British Airways i360 said that the pod moved a greater vertical distance from the ground than any other moving observation tower.
They referred to two other observation towers – the Euromast in Rotterdam and the Donauturm in Vienna. The Euromast's observation deck did not move and was positioned at 100 metres with a rotating glass elevator above it (the Euroscoop) which travelled to 185m. The Donauturm viewing platform was static with two revolving restaurants at 161.2 and 169.4m did not travel over any distance in height and only revolved. British Airways i360 said that those sections of the Donauturm were marketed as a restaurant, not described as observation pods and were therefore not comparable to the i360.
British Airways i360 said there was no evidence that any consumer had been misled by their claim and said consumers would be more misled by the claim that a viewing platform that rose 1m at, for example, 150m was taller than British Airways i360, which travelled from ground level to 138m. They said that they would state the distance the tower travelled alongside any new use of the claim.
The ASA considered that consumers would understand “the world’s tallest moving observation tower” to mean the British Airways i360’s observation desk rose to a height higher than any other moving observation tower in the world.
We noted the British Airways i360 moved a greater distance from the ground up than other towers. However, while the evidence provided by British Airways i360 showed that other moving observation areas rose from halfway up a tower structure and not from the ground, we noted that those towers rose higher into the air than the British Airways i360.
Because we did not consider the British Airways i360 was taller than other observation towers in the way that consumers would understand it, we therefore concluded 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) and 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).
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Brighton i360 Ltd not to misleadingly imply that their observation tower was taller than other observation towers if that was not the case.