Two paid-for search results on Google for Travel Unravel Holidays Private Ltd, seen on 30 April 2018:
a. The ad appeared following a search for "british airways" [sic]. Text stated "Call 020 XXXX XXXX - Airways Ticket" followed by "Ad" and the website address "britishairwaysticket.co.uk/". The web address did not link through to a website. Text underneath stated "Save More! Low Cost Airways Tickets Limited Seats. Call Us to Book Now! Cheap Flights. Holiday Sale. Special offers. Lowest Price".
b. The ad appeared following a search for "virgin airways" [sic]. Text stated "Call 020 XXXX XXXX - Airlines Flight", followed by "Ad" and the website address "virginatlantc.airlines-flight.co.uk/" [sic]. The web address did not link through to a website. Text underneath stated "Get Great Flight Deals & Save Big. Pay Less & Travel More. Call now!"
The complainant challenged whether ads (a) and (b) misleadingly implied that they were for British Airways’ and Virgin Atlantics’ own websites, respectively.
Travel Unravel Holidays Private Ltd did not respond substantively to the complaint. They said they were willing to make changes to the ads.
The ASA noted that the headlines in the ads featured web addresses that were very similar to the names of the airlines British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and we considered consumers were likely to understand from the web addresses that the ads were for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. We noted that in ad (b) the web address was missing a letter so stated "virginatlantc" rather than "virginatlantic". However, we considered that this was likely to be overlooked by consumers. We also considered that the references to "Airways Ticket", "Limited Seats", "Cheap Flights" and "Holiday Sale" in ad (a), and "Airlines Flight", "Great Flight Deals" and "Pay Less & Travel More" in ad (b) added to that impression.
For those reasons, we concluded that the ads were likely to mislead consumers into thinking that the web addresses or phone numbers listed were for British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, when that was not the case.
The ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules
Marketing communications must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that the consumer needs to make informed decisions in relation to a product. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead the consumer depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the marketing communication is constrained by time or space, the measures that the marketer takes to make that information available to the consumer by other means. and 3.5 3.5 Marketing communications must not materially mislead by omitting the identity of the marketer.
Some marketing communications must include the marketer's identity and contact details. Marketing communications that fall under the Database Practice or Employment sections of the Code must comply with the more detailed rules in those sections.
Marketers should note the law requires marketers to identify themselves in some marketing communications. Marketers should take legal advice. (Misleading advertising) and 3.41 3.41 Marketing communications must not mislead the consumer about who manufactures the product. (Imitation and denigration).
The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Travel Unravel Holidays Private Ltd to make clear that their ads were for a third-party travel agency rather than for British Airways, Virgin Atlantic or any other airline.