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ASA Cogent Elliott Cross Country Trains

ASA Rules against Crosscountry Trains and HSBC ads

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By The Drum Team, Editorial

September 3, 2008 | 3 min read

The ASA has ruled against adverts by HSBC Bank and Crosscountry Trains, ruling that neither advert should be used again in their current forms.

The TV advert for HSBC International Premier Account service, created by JWT Manchester presented a family moving house from Kuala Lumpur to Vancouver, and stated that “HSBC Premier Helps you to get more out of the world, from the world’s local bank.”

The advert ended with on screen text stating ‘HSBC Premier The world’s local bank’.

One viewer challenged whether the advert was misleading as they understood the service was unavailable in Portugal, a destination they believed would be attractive for British residents.

HSBC explained that the service was available in all countries where there were HSBC premises, and said it would still seek to provide the service through local branches even if the country did not have a branch. This had not been arranged in Portugal, but the client offered to amend its adverts for future use to avoid confusion.

Meanwhile, the ASA has also ruled that an advert for Crosscountry Trains by Cogent Elliot headed “Your journey, your way” with a picture of Edinburgh castle and text stating, “Your carriage for the castle awaits from just £11.50. Comfortable trains direct to Edinburgh from Sheffield every hour. Buy and save at crosscountrytrains.co.uk”.

A reader believed the ad to be misleading when they were unable to buy a ticket to Edinburgh for £11.50 despite being flexible about date and time of travel, and was told a ticket would cost in excess of £80.

The client explained that the advance fares opened bookings 12 weeks ahead of travel and that, when that route opened, 11% of reserved seats were available at £11.50.

The ASA decided that although the company had shown the offer was available on a spread of trains during weekdays and that they had sold a number of tickets “from £11.50” but the company was unable to demonstrate that 11% of available seats were offered at the “from” price as claimed.

As a result, the complaint was upheld and the ASA has ruled that the ad must not appear again in its current form and that the company must, in future, ensure that they have evidence to show that at least 10% of seats were available at the advertised price and that there was a ‘reasonable’ spread of availability over the travel period.

ASA Cogent Elliott Cross Country Trains

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