The ruling is of interest as it comments on the comparative prominence of (1) a voice-over detailing comparative indicators and incentives to viewers to enter into a credit card agreement with (or without) visual footage, and (2) static text displayed during the advert comprising a representative example and the representative APR.
The ASA noted in its ruling the rules in the FCA's Consumer Credit sourcebook at CONC 3.5.7R(2) and CONC 3.5.5R (5)(d) to the effect that the representative APR and representative example, once triggered, must be given no less prominence than the information that triggered their inclusion.
The ASA found that the representative APR and representative example were presented in on-screen text which appeared along the bottom of the screen for half of the advert's duration. The text was considered by the ASA to be sufficiently clear to viewers, both in terms of text size and the length of time it was displayed on screen.
However, the ASA considered that the combination of the visual footage of customers using their credit card and having discussions about their finances emphasised, and therefore gave additional prominence to, the features being set out in the voice-over. Those features included credit incentives, such as 0% on balance transfers. In that context the ASA found that the static text displayed on screen was likely to be seen as less prominent than the information communicated verbally, with or without additional visual footage and therefore would not meet the prominence requirements in the CONC rules.
Santander were therefore found to have breached rule 14.11 of the BCAP code (lending and credit) and were told not to broadcast the advert again in its then current form.
One outcome of this ruling may be that we see (and hear) more TV adverts which include a spoken representative example and representative APR in the same fashion as the radio equivalent. More work in the pipeline for the fast talkers of this world.
If you would like to discuss the impact of the ASA's ruling on your credit adverts, please contact John Lunn.