EasyJet’s “The webs favourite airline” slogan was challenged before the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) by GO, BA’s low-cost airline.
Topic: Comparative advertising
Who: EasyJet, GO and the Advertising Standards Authority
When: November 2000
EasyJet's "The webs favourite airline" slogan was challenged before the Advertising Standards Authority ("ASA") by GO, BA's low-cost airline. The complaint took over seven months to process and was evidently as hotly contested as the protagonists' battle for share of the budget flights market. GO argued that as US airlines' on-line flight sales were greater than those achieved by either EasyJet or GO, the claim was misleading. EasyJet persuaded the ASA to disregard the US position by showing that they only used the slogan in Europe. Furthermore, other evidence such as an independent survey showing higher sales from EasyJet's site than from GO's led to the GO challenge being thrown out and EasyJet being found to have substantiated their "web's favourite airline" claim.
Why this matters:
The story mirrors Virgin's long running battle with BA over BA's "World's favourite airline" slogan. This was thought by many to be non-specific puff, but the phrase was challenged twice by BA's competitor. On each occasion, however, BA was able to substantiate the claim by showing that although US airlines such as Delta sold more seats in pure number terms, BA's flight sales had a greater international mix than those of any other world airline.
Claims like these probably fall outside the rigorous new controls imposed by the new comparative advertising regulations earlier this year. This is because they do not expressly or impliedly identify a competitor. Such claims will still need to be substantiated under the British Code of Advertising, however, to be proof against competitors' challenges!