Q&As

Can I say ‘the best of British’ and use the union flag in my advertising?

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Produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing
Published on LexisPSL on 21/05/2019

The following TMT Q&A Produced in partnership with Helen Hart of Institute of Promotional Marketing provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can I say ‘the best of British’ and use the union flag in my advertising?
  • Using ‘best’
  • Using ‘British’
  • Union flag use

There are two strands to consider—are the products ‘best’ and are they ‘British’?

In addition to legislation that applies to all comparative advertising (see Practice Note: Comparative advertising), the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) has issued guidance on ‘best’ claims.

Using ‘best’

According to the guidance, the most common way that advertisers will express a superlative claim without a clear basis for the claim is by using the word ‘best’. A superlative claim should ordinarily be backed up by evidence to demonstrate its truthfulness or accuracy, therefore advertisers using ‘best’ claims must be careful. For more information on superlative claims, see the ASA Advice.

A best claim is allowed where the rest of the advertisement does not clarify the basis for it if the claim is subjective. For example, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) allowed an advertisement claiming to sell ‘only the best in the business’ on the grounds that it would be seen as the advertiser’s opinion. (Alphason Designs Ltd, 6 April 2005).

If the criterion for the ‘best’ claim is stated, the ASA will interpret the claim as an objective one, capable of substantiation—for example, ‘best selling’ or ‘best fuel efficiency’ (Highbury House Communications plc, 18 February 2004, and Emap Automotive Ltd, 23 July 2003).

In 2013, the ASA ruled that the Cadogan Clinic's claim that their medical and surgical consultants were ‘the best in Europe’ was objective,

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