A paid-for Facebook ad for ECOFunded, seen on 27 February 2023, stated, “Find Out If You Qualify”. Beneath that, the ad displayed a crown logo alongside text stating “GOV.UK”. A green circle containing white text stated, “Free GOV.UK Grants”. Further bold text stating “Is Your Boiler 15+ Years Old?” was followed by more text “Claim your FREE Boiler Grant If you or anyone in your household receives benefits”.
The complainant challenged whether the ad misleadingly implied that Eco Funded was associated with or endorsed by the UK Government.
One Source Digital Ltd said they were a digital marketing company that handled marketing campaigns and had created the ad using references to the official gov.uk website because it was for a Government-endorsed scheme that was available at the time the ad was seen. They said that the use of the logo was intended to increase trust from consumers that the scheme referred to in the ad was legitimate.
They said they had removed the ad pending the outcome of the investigation.
The ASA welcomed One Source Digital’s action to remove the ad pending the outcome of the investigation.
We considered that the use of “Gov.uk” alongside the Government crown logo would be interpreted by consumers to mean that the company “Ecofunded.org.uk” was affiliated to the UK Government.
We understood that the “org.uk” domain was a recognised domain name extension that was originally intended for use by non-commercial organisations, and was recognised as used by charities and other non-profit organisations including trusts, foundations and societies. Therefore, we considered that when “org.uk” was combined with the name “Eco Funded”, it further added to the impression that the company was endorsed by the Government to provide funding in the form of a grant for replacement boilers.
We also understood that at the time the ad was seen there was a Government-endorsed boiler upgrade scheme available, but that Eco Funded was not specifically endorsed by or associated with the Government in any way.
Because the ad implied that Ecofunded was endorsed by or affiliated to the UK Government, and that was not the case, we concluded that it was misleading.
The ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.50 (Endorsements and Testimonials).
The ad must not appear in the form complained of. We told One Source Digital Ltd not to misleadingly imply that their company was endorsed by or affiliated to UK Government.