The Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") has published a ruling against Coral Interactive (Gibraltar) Ltd in respect of a Euro 2016 promotion which stated "FREE £5 BET. BET £10 ON A TOURNAMENT WINNER GET £5 EVERY TIME THEY WIN*" and had text which stated "AVAILABLE TO NEW & EXISTING CONNECT CUSTOMERS IN ANY CORAL SHOP." Small print linked by an asterisk beneath the advert stated "Available to multichannel Connect customers in any Coral shop."
The complainant was told that he was not eligible for the offer, as his Connect card was available in-shop only. The complainant therefore challenged whether the promotion was misleading.
Coral argued that the ad was not misleading because the promotion was open to all Connect customers. The small print stating "Available to multichannel Connect customers in any Coral shop" had been included in error and Coral added that they had taken steps to ensure this did not happen again.
The ASA ruled against Coral, agreeing with the complainant that consumers were likely to understand that the claim "AVAILABLE TO NEW & EXISTING CONNECT CUSTOMERS IN ANY CORAL SHOP" meant that all Connect customers could take advantage of the offer. The offer's small print however implied that it was only available to multichannel Connect customers and so contradicted the main promotion. Therefore the ASA found that the advert breached the Cap Code Rule 3.9 requiring that "marketing communications must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify."
This ruling continues to reinforce the requirement that advertisers should take care to ensure that any qualifications in their promotions do not contradict the headline offer. This ruling also indicates that the ASA has a low tolerance for errors and may still find against the advertiser if they believe that the error could result in a consumer being misled.
The ASA's full report of this hearing can be found here.