American Express credit card ad banned following cashback 'exaggeration'

American Express has found itself in hot water with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after "misleading" consumers around how its cashback scheme worked.

The watchdog has slapped the brand's 'Everything Has an Upside' ad with ban after ruling that it had exaggerated the claim that consumers get 5% cashback on all purchases.

Two complaints were received about the spot, which promoted the American Express 'platinum cashback everyday' credit card featured animations of different situations that could result in unexpected spending, like a plumbing leak or dropping a mobile phone in water.

A voiceover stated: 'Sometimes we have to pay for things we don’t actually like. But there is an upside to everything. There is a card that could give you 5% cashback on all purchases. Even the ones that didn’t go to plan'."

On-screen small print stated that the minimum annual spend for cashback eligibility was £3,000, and the 5% cashback rule only applied to customers' first three months of membership. The text stipulated that the reward could reach up to £100 in this timeframe, after which the consumers received just 1% cashback.

The regulator agreed with members of the public who challenged whether the claim 'there is a card that could give you 5% cashback on all purchases' was misleading and exaggerated the cashback offer.

Despite American Express arguing that qualification at the bottom of the screen was sufficiently prominent, the watchdog has hit the ad with a ban.

"We considered that the qualification was not sufficient to override the impression given by the headline claim that customers would be able to get 5% cashback on all purchases without limitations," said the ASA. "We therefore concluded that the ad was misleading."

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Rebecca Stewart

Rebecca Stewart is a reporter at The Drum. Based in London, she has interviewed key figures from brands like Airbnb, Amnesty International, Facebook and Spotify. She has covered international events in Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as Advertising Week Europe.

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