Ad description

The product packaging for Kellogg’s Crunchy Nut Clusters, seen on 17 July 2023, featured a promotion. Text on the back of the packaging stated “FREE ADULT TICKET” next to a triangle symbol. Below, text stated “ADULT TICKET OR CHILD TICKET = FREE ADULT TICKET”. Text underneath stated “[triangle symbol] When you buy a full ‘on the day’ priced child or adult ticket.”

Text to the right stated “Pre-booking is essential […] Book your ticket in advance online! It’s simple”. Text underneath stated “Find the unique 10 digit code printed inside this pack and go to to select the attraction and secure the date you want to visit”. Further text stated “Book, Pay, Print/Download your entry tickets. Then head straight into the attraction on your day of visit”.


The complainant, who understood that tickets had to be booked in advance in order to redeem the offer, challenged whether the claim “free adult ticket” was misleading because it was based on the price of “on the day” tickets.


Kellogg Europe Trading Ltd t/a Kellogg’s said the partnership between Kellogg’s and Merlin had been in place for 13 years and would be continuing for the foreseeable future. They highlighted that the wording of the promotion had changed over the years.

They said the promotion allowed consumers who purchased a full price “on the day” adult or child ticket to receive another full price “on the day” adult ticket and was available throughout the year for attractions in the UK and Ireland.

They stated that the front of the promotion stated “FREE ADULT TICKET” which linked to terms and conditions at the bottom of the front packaging. They also highlighted the condition to purchase a full price “on the day” ticket was further repeated on the back and side of the packaging. The full terms and conditions and information about how to claim tickets was displayed on the back of the packaging.

They said that whilst pre-booking was essential, tickets could be purchased for the same day or any future date that tickets were available. Kellogg’s believed consumers would understand that if they purchased a full price “on the day” ticket, then they would receive another one for free and it would be understood in a similar way to ‘buy one get one free’ promotions. They also said that, as a result of the complaint, they had reviewed the promotional mechanic and confirmed that the promotion would no longer link to the “on the day” ticket price.

Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd t/a Merlin stated that the back of the promotion made clear that consumers could receive a free adult ticket when they purchased a full price “on the day” adult or child ticket, and that was prominently displayed on the back as well as on the side and front of the packaging.

Merlin said the “on the day” price was displayed next to the online advanced ticket price across all attraction websites. They stated the “on the day” ticket was fixed for each attraction, for example the cost of an "on the day" Alton Towers ticket was £68. However, the advance ticket price was dynamic, and its cost varied throughout the year depending on the date selected and the level of ticket sales. They stated that the term “on the day” was used to indicate that the ticket was full price, and that consumers who bought tickets with the promotional code could book a ticket for either the same day or a date in advance, as long as there was availability. They said consumers would understand “free adult ticket when you buy a full “on the day” priced child or adult ticket” to mean that when they bought a full priced ticket then they would receive a second ticket without paying for it. They also stated consumers would be aware that other ticket options were likely to be available at a cheaper rate, but that the promotion would provide consumers with better value in most cases.

Merlin provided sales data for all of their 28 attractions. Apart from Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, consumers who participated in the promotion and bought a full price “on the day” ticket would always make a saving. They explained that, for Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, tickets purchased via the promotion were only the same price as an advanced price ticket in September 2023. However, that represented a very small percentage of the total tickets bought via the promotion. They said that in light of that, they had taken immediate steps to raise their Super Off Peak ticket prices for Thorpe Park and Alton Towers, which would ensure a saving for consumers who at used the Kellogg’s promotion.



The ad stated “FREE ADULT TICKET” and underneath stated “When you buy a full “on the day” priced child or adult ticket”. The ASA noted that the ad did not refer to “advance tickets” and considered that in the absence of qualifying information, consumers would not understand that there were different ticket categories. We further considered that consumers would not understand the distinction in price or meaning between “on the day” and “advance” tickets because the ad stated that, in order to take advantage of the promotion, participants had to purchase their ticket in advance, regardless of whether they were using it for entry on the same day or for a date in the future. As such, consumers would assume there was one ticket category, and that notwithstanding the method of booking, they would receive a free adult ticket at no extra cost if they purchased an adult or child ticket.

We understood that an “on the day” ticket to Alton Towers and Thorpe Park cost £68, which represented a full price ticket, and that consumers who wished to visit the attractions with the promotion would have to pay that full price to qualify for a free adult ticket. We also understood that tickets were cheaper if booked in advance and those “advance” tickets ranged from £34 to £39 for an adult ticket, depending on a range of factors.

Because “on the day” tickets bought as part of the promotion had to be purchased in advance on the Merlin website, we compared the cost of purchasing tickets via the promotion with the cost of purchasing two standard “advance” tickets on the website. We understood that for tickets purchased through the promotion, participants paid a total of £68 for an “on the day” ticket and then received another adult “on the day” ticket for no extra cost. We noted that, depending on the particular day, the cost of purchasing two “advance” tickets could vary between £68 and £78. We therefore considered that the maximum saving achieved via the promotion was £10, and that in some cases, purchasing two “advance” tickets equated to the same cost as the promotional tickets, and that there was no saving to be made for consumers. As such, we considered that promotional saving did not align with consumers’ interpretation of a free ticket as advertised.

We acknowledged Merlin’s argument that the “on the day” ticket available as part of the promotion offered more flexibility, since consumers could use the promotion to purchase either a ticket for the same day, which “advance” tickets did not offer, or for a date in advance. However, we considered that most consumers would not be using the promotion to purchase a ticket for the same day, and we further noted that both the Alton Towers and Thorpe Park websites advised that tickets should be bought in advance. In any case, because participants were not offered the equivalent promotional savings of a free ticket, we concluded that the on-pack promotion was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1, 3.3 (Misleading advertising) and 3.17 (Prices).


The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Kellogg Europe Trading Ltd t/a Kellogg’s and Merlin Attractions Operations Ltd to not misleadingly imply that consumers could get a free adult ticket if that was not the case.


3.17     3.3     3.1    

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.17     3.3     3.1    

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