MoneySavingExpert.com founder and Good Morning Britain presenter Martin Lewis has launched one of his infamous rants against two financial firms, forcing them to pull their ad campaigns after both used his image to endorse their products, following a double complaint to the ad watchdog.
PPI claims company Civil Claim Services and money advice firm Sterling Partnership both used Lewis’ photo in separate Facebook campaigns.
The first ad said: “Martin Lewis and the national press have all announced a PPI deadline is in place. To run a 22 year PPI check on all your finances visit www.ppisearch.co.uk …” The second used similar text but included the line: “We are in no way recommended by Martin Lewis or the BBC, we are merely using images freely available in-line with current legislation to reinforce the deadline message”.
However, the sting in the tail was the image of Lewis overlaid with text: “Finally a PPI reclaim company you can trust” in quotation marks.
Meanwhile, the Sterling Partnership campaign included an image of Lewis and text which stated “Get the Latest Money Saving Tips & Advice”.
MoneySavingExpert.com and Lewis, who believed the ads misleadingly implied Lewis had endorsed the products, rifled off a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
In response, Civil Claim Services denied any wrongdoing, insisting it had done all it could to distance itself from Lewis through the disclaimer, although Sterling Partnership fessed up straight away and said it had already withdrawn its ad.
In both cases, the ASA said it considered the image in the ads was likely to be understood by consumers to mean that Lewis had endorsed their service.
Even though the watchdog acknowledged that not every use of an image of a person with a public profile would be regarded as an endorsement, the way both companies had used Lewis’ image, gave the overall impression that he had given them his backing.
Banning both campaigns from appearing again, the ASA warned the duo to ensure they did not imply their service had been endorsed by any specific individual unless that was the case.
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