September 11, 2017
A TV ad promoting 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 consumers received just 1% cashback.
The ASA found that although the text explaining the limitations appeared on-screen when the headline claim was spoken in the voice-over, the font was small and the text describing the significant conditions was situated within a larger block. The ASA 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. As such, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.10 (Qualification) and 3.12 (Exaggeration). To read ASA Ruling on American Express Services Europe Ltd (9 August 2017) in full, click here.