Ad description

A sponsored search ad for Photobox stated "50% Off All Photo Books - Superb Quality, Starting From £3.00".


A complainant, who created a photo book but who was offered only 30% off at check out, challenged whether the 50% offer was available and could be substantiated.


Photobox said the link in the sponsored search ad gave a customer a unique code which automatically gave them 50% discount at checkout. They said a customer who clicked on the natural search link which appeared underneath the sponsored search results, as they believed had happened in the complainant's case, would not receive the unique code and would not, therefore, be given 50% discount at checkout.


Not upheld

The ASA considered that it was not unusual for offers to require customers to respond to advertisers using a particular link or channel. While some customers might then expect an offer to be available in all circumstances, regardless of whether a particular link or channel was used, we did not consider the wording of Photobox's ad suggested that was the case and that the natural expectation was that a customer would expect to click on an offer to obtain it.

Because the offer was automatically given to customers who contacted Photobox using the sponsored search link, and because we considered the ad did not suggest that the offer was available in all circumstances, regardless of whether the link was used, we concluded that the ad was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under 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  3.17 3.17 Price statements must not mislead by omission, undue emphasis or distortion. They must relate to the product featured in the marketing communication.  (Prices) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.

CAP Code (Edition 12)

3.1     3.17     3.7    

More on