“Massive discounts baby!” screamed a promotional email sent by airline bmibaby , then “”Quick! It’s your last chance to book BIG savings on all flights for 2011.” The complainant challenged whether the advertised savings were genuine. Frazer Groom reports the ASA’s decision.
When: 15 June 2011
Law stated as at: 29 June 2011
A promotional e-mail was sent to BMI customers headed “Massive discounts, baby!” with text stating – “Quick! It’s your last chance to book BIG savings on all flights for 2011. Don’t delay and check out the flights on offer”.
A complaint was made to the Advertising Standards Authority, challenging whether the advertised savings were genuine.
bmibaby submitted evidence to substantiate the savings claim, but the ASA found this to be flawed.
Evidence of flight bookings made in response to the email was supplied but these only related to 15 flights. These were over a period of 10 months from the start of the year and did not extend further into the year because the promotion could not be applied to the last two months of the year. This was apparently because tickets for the winter season had not been released as routes and destinations had not yet been finalised.
bmibaby said in their submissions that further evidence that relevant flight bookings had been discounted could be provided if necessary, but because the evidence supplied related to only 15 bookings in total and the promotion did not apply to flights after 29 October 2011, the ASA concluded that it did not demonstrate that there were savings on all 2011 flights for all routes.
Therefore the advertiser had failed to demonstrate that the advertised savings "on all flights for 2011" were genuine and the complaint was upheld on the basis of breaches of CAP code rules 3.1, 3.3 and 3.7.
Why this matters:
This case emphasises the importance of being able to provide substantial and relevant information to back up a savings claim that relates to the entire period stated in the advertisement.
Work experience student
Osborne Clarke London