Celador in breach for misleading sponsor credit
A listener to Bam Bam at Breakfast on JACK fm South Coast complained to Ofcom that a sponsor tag was misleading, resulting in Ofcom finding the station in breach of the broadcasting code.
The show had a sponsor message saying “Bam Bam at Breakfast with Lovett International Estate Agents, the toast of the National Estate Agency Awards 2013. Our toast is burnt – it won’t win any awards.”
Lovett was shortlisted for the award but didn’t actually win.
The complaintant said the tag gives the impression that Lovett had won the award rather than just being shortlisted.
Celador stated that Lovett was shortlisted for a number of awards in 2013, which the company was keen to promote when they signed up to sponsor the breakfast show in 2014. The Licensee said it was clear that the reference related to 2013 awards and provided Ofcom with a screenshot from the Estate Agency of the Year website that named Lovett on a page entitled “A-Z of Award Winning Agents”.
Celador said that Lovett considered it was a winner at the National Estate Agency Awards “in much the same way that an athlete coming third in the Olympics is regarded as a winner for receiving a bronze” and that receiving a shortlist certificate made it a winner.
Celador continued that it had used light-hearted humour to play on the dual meaning of the word “toast”.
Ofcom replied: “Although we noted the Licensee’s argument that the reference was intended to be a humorous pun, we considered the statement that Lovett had been “the toast of the National Estate Agency Awards 2013” clearly implied the company had achieved significant success at that event.
“Because the company had not won the category in which it was entered, Ofcom considered that the Licensee had failed to substantiate that Lovett was the “toast” of the awards. Further the commercial reference had exaggerated the company’s success at the awards and was likely to mislead listeners.”