A TV ad for bookmakers William Hill, seen on 18 June, promoted the '#Your Odds' promotion in which customers could create and bet on their own markets, and make a request for William Hill to provide the odds via Twitter from the William Hill app. One scene titled 'William Hill App' included review ratings from five publications, including a five star rating from the Daily Record.
The complainant, who understood that the Daily Record had never published a review of the William Hill app, challenged whether the five star rating given by the Daily Record was genuine.
WHG (International) Ltd t/a William Hill stated that the five star rating in the ad was rewarded by the Daily Record after they made a request to the Daily Record to test the William Hill app. They stated that the rating was never published by the Daily Record, but they received permission from the publication to use the five star rating in any advertising medium. They provided a copy of the confirmation email from the Daily Record with permission to use the five rating in their ad, and another email setting out the details of the criteria against which the Daily Record tested the app and the reasons for which the publication had given a five star rating for the app.
Clearcast stated that the ad was a Scottish version of a previously approved copy in William Hill’s ‘YourOdds’ ad campaign, for which William Hill wished to feature local reviews. Prior to approval, they sought substantiation from William Hill for the Daily Record review, as well as confirmation that the publication gave permission to be referenced.
The ASA considered that viewers were likely to expect that the review ratings in the ad, including the five star rating attributed to the Daily Record, to be based on genuine reviews carried out by the publications referred to.
We noted that one of the emails from the Daily Record, provided by William Hill, detailed a breakdown of the criteria against which the app was tested, such as speed, markets, usability, design, cash out and in-play feature, and the reasons for which they had rated the app with five starts. Although we noted from William Hill’s response that they had requested for the Daily Record to review the app, the Daily Record’s comments regarded features which they believed performed better or well, some of which were based on comparison with other betting apps on the market, and areas which they felt could be improved. We considered that the review appeared to be impartial. We also noted the evidence provided demonstrated that permission had been given by the Daily Record to William Hill to use their review rating in their advertising. Notwithstanding that the review ratings were not published by the Daily Record, we considered that William Hill held adequate evidence to demonstrate the five star rating attributed to the Daily Record in the ad was genuine, and therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to mislead.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so. (Misleading advertising), 3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is 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 Testimonials or endorsements used in advertising must be genuine, unless they are obviously fictitious, and be supported by documentary evidence. Testimonials and endorsements must relate to the advertised product or service. Claims that are likely to be interpreted as factual and appear in advertisements must not mislead or be likely to mislead. (Endorsements and testimonials), but did not find it in breach.
No further action required.