ASA bans Moneysupermarket.com ad

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advertisement from price comparison site Moneysupermarket.com, after a complaint was made by Gocompare.com.

A TV ad included the statement “… to compare more home insurers than anyone else, get thee to Moneysupermarket”.

Gocompare.com challenged whether the claim was misleading and could be substantiated.

Moneysupermarket.com claimed it had used an independent third party to track and measure the insurers compared. The data was gathered according to the third partys own impartial interpretation of the market and to the Market Research Societys code of conduct.

They said real customers who needed to renew their home insurance were selected at random and data was gathered continually from February to April 2010 inclusive; however, the claim could be substantiated to the end of May 2010. The data included five price comparison sites and two direct insurers.

The analysis found MSM compared both the largest number of brands and the largest number of companies. MSM said they also carried out daily searches internally; those searches compared them to their competitors using a single set of criteria, which was the most common criteria searched for on MSM.

They submitted the data collated by the independent company for February to May 2010 as well as the results of their own daily searches. They said they believed the claim was not misleading.

The ASA noted the third-party data submitted by MSM stated it was based on visits to each of the seven websites by up to 211 respondents, who recorded search results related to their own home insurance renewal needs.

It also noted, however, it had not seen full details of the methodology or search criteria used to obtain the data and the ad did not make clear the search criteria the claim was based on and that it was made on the basis of only four months’ worth of independent data.

The ASA ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form and told MSM to ensure it held robust and up to date substantiation if they made similar claims in future.