Claims on www.cadoganclinic.com a private healthcare clinic, stated "the best consultants the best care". Claims under the heading "The Very Best Consultants" stated "The Medical and Surgical consultants at The Cadogan Clinic are the best in Europe, hand picked for their skills. They are supported by an exceptional team of nursing staff and management".
The Whiteley Clinic challenged whether the claims that the advertiser's consultants were "the best" and "the best in Europe" were misleading and could be substantiated.
Cadogan Clinic said they had sought guidance from CAP's Copy Advice team and been advised that "best consultants" was a subjective term and they would not be required to substantiate it in the event of a complaint. Cadogan Clinic said, as a private clinic, they hand-picked their consultants and strove to have the best staff and to offer the best treatments and procedures.
The ASA considered that the claim that the advertiser had the "best consultants" was likely to be interpreted by readers as an objective claim that their consultants had been objectively shown to be better than their peers, for example in terms of surgical success rates. We considered that impression was enhanced by the claims that the consultants were "the best in Europe, hand picked for their skills", which, by referring to a limited geographical territory, added to the impression that a specific group of consultants had been compared.
We welcomed Cadogan Clinic's efforts to comply with the Code by seeking advice from CAP. However, because we understood that they were not able to objectively substantiate the claims to have the best consultants, we concluded that the claims were misleading.
The claims 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 claims must not appear again in their current form.