Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Booking.com - Another Case for Advertising Standards Authority?

As Groupon get dragged over the coals for some of their copywriting and promotional methods we wondered whether the advertising bodies (including Google) had any thoughts on the advert below.

According to Google Adwords T&C's

10. Representations and warranties
10.1 Customer represents and warrants that (i) all of the information provided by Customer to Google is complete, correct and current;

Now call me a pedant - and I have been called worse - but can the following advert be truly complete and correct? I recall adverts being rejected for the use of superlatives and that if you can't back up the use of a word you can't use it.
"Google AdWords doesn't allow ads that make inaccurate claims. Inaccurate claims include competitive claims, superlatives, and unverified offers."
 It goes on...
"Google doesn't allow ad text that contains competitive claims against other companies such as "better than," "faster than," etc., unless there's specific support for this claim clearly displayed on the ad's landing page. Support for the claim can be in a variety of ways, such as a chart or table that compares the features or prices of your product versus your competitor's product, or a competitive analysis discussing why your product is superior.

So how do Booking.com (and in fairness others) continue to get away with claims such as the one below

They cannot legitimately claim the lowest price guaranteed for Edinburgh Hotels (insert Dubin/Madrid/Paris etc) - are they seriously suggesting that there is no lower price available anywhere. Nonsense and could easily be proven as a false statement. Specific hotels? Or featured Hotels? Or lowest price gauranteed for a single hotel? Maybe they can support the claim when we get to the page.

Google do after all say that any claims need to be supported specifically. There is no specific support for the claim on the landing page. Try it for yourself.

Why would Google overlook the breaking of clear advertising rules of one of their bigger advertisers?

It's difficult enough for independent hotels in the current climate without them having to constantly fight against borderlined advertising tricks as well...

And then there's the perfectly safe policy of faxing credit card details across the globe but that's for another blog article...


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