A paid-for Facebook ad for Sterling Partnership Ltd, dated 28 February 2017 and seen in May 2017, included an image of Martin Lewis and text which stated “Get the Latest Money Saving Tips & Advice”.
Moneysavingexpert.com and Martin Lewis, who believed that the ad misleadingly implied Martin Lewis endorsed the service, challenged whether the ad breached the Code.
Sterling Partnership Ltd confirmed that the advert was used between 1 February 2017 and 21 March 2017. They said the ad was withdrawn as soon as the error was uncovered and had not been used since that time and would not be used again.
The ASA considered the image in the ad was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that Martin Lewis had endorsed the advertiser’s service. Further, we considered the lack of any other information that gave context to the use of the image implied Martin Lewis had specifically endorsed Sterling Partnership, which we understood was not the case. We acknowledged that not every use of an image of a person with a public profile would be regarded as an endorsement. However, this particular ad gave the overall impression that Martin Lewis had endorsed Sterling Partnership. We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading.
The ad breached the 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 3.45 3.45 Marketers must hold documentary evidence that a testimonial or endorsement used in a marketing communication is genuine, unless it is obviously fictitious, and hold contact details for the person who, or organisation that, gives it. (Endorsements and testimonials).
The ad must not appear again in the form complained of. We told Sterling Partnership Ltd to ensure they did not imply their service had been endorsed by any specific individual unless that was the case.