The website www.altontowers.com, seen on 14 September 2019, featured a page titled "Alton Towers Fastrack Passes" that stated "Reduce your waiting times and enjoy the most popular attractions". A section titled "Benefits of an Alton Towers Fast Pass" stated "Less Time Queuing … Exclusive fastrack queue lines offer reduced waiting time on some of our biggest rides and attractions".
The complainant, who believed the ad exaggerated the time saving available to consumers who purchased the pass, challenged whether the claims “Reduce your waiting times”, “Less Time Queuing", and “reduced waiting time” were misleading and could be substantiated.
Merlin Entertainments plc t/a Alton Towers said they had a daily allocation of Fastrack passes and the sale of those passes varied depending on the volume of consumers and ride queue speed, among other factors. They said there were variables that could affect queue length and those were communicated to consumers by ride staff, on boards near ride queues and through the Alton Towers app.
Alton Towers said they had an allocation of Fastrack passes per ride, with Fastrack passes representing no more than 20% of a ride throughput – i.e. no more than one Fastrack pass for every five standard passes sold. Alton Towers provided information comparing the queueing time for the Fastrack and standard queues for the day and week the complainant visited.
The ASA considered consumers would understand the claims “Reduce your waiting times”, “Less Time Queuing", and “reduced waiting time”, in reference to the Alton Towers Fastrack pass, to mean that by purchasing a Fastrack pass they would spend comparatively less time queueing for rides and attractions than those who purchased a standard Alton Towers entry pass. We noted Alton Towers had a system in place whereby a limited number of Fastrack passes were sold to consumers on a daily basis. We also noted a number of factors were considered when selling the passes, including ride queue time and consumer numbers, as a way of managing the length of Fastrack queues. The information provided by Alton Towers showed average Fastrack queueing times were shorter than average standard queue times, often significantly. That meant consumers who purchased the Fastrack pass were, on average, likely to queue for less time than consumers who purchased standard passes.
While there may have been times when the Fastrack queue was longer than the standard queue, the Fastrack pass was likely to reduce waiting times and consumers who purchased them were likely to spend significantly less time queuing. We therefore concluded that the ad had not exaggerated the time saving available to consumers who purchased the Fastrack pass, and the claims were not misleading.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Advertisements must not falsely imply that the advertiser is acting as a consumer or for purposes outside its trade, business, craft or profession. Advertisements must make clear their commercial intent, if that is not obvious from the context.
Qualifications must be presented clearly.
BCAP has published guidance on superimposed text to help television broadcasters ensure compliance with rule 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. . The guidance is available at:
Use of superimposed text in television advertising (Exaggeration), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.