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ASA finds against TM over Platinum ‘best tickets’ claim

The UK's Advertising Standards Authority has upheld three complaints against a Ticketmaster UK advert that claimed Platinum tickets are the "best available"

By Jon Chapple on 03 Jan 2018

Ticketmaster Platinum

image © BILLETnet/Ticketmaster Denmark

Ticketmaster UK has been ordered by an advertising watchdog to withdraw an advert claiming its dynamically priced Platinum service offers the “best available tickets” for an event, after finding the claim is misleading and cannot be substantiated.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation into the ad – pictured on Ticketmaster.co.uk in March 2017 and still live in other markets, such as Denmark – after three people took issue with the company’s claim that “Ticketmaster Platinum offers fans the best available tickets for an event direct from the artist”.

While Ticketmaster “believed consumers were likely to interpret the claim ‘best available tickets’ to mean the best available at the time they were making their booking”, rather than “the best tickets that had ever been sold for that event”, the ASA disagreed, ruling the wording is “unqualified”, and that “for the seating tickets, there could be Platinum tickets on sale at the same time as general tickets, with no discernible difference between the two in terms of customer experience”.

“We therefore considered that while the Platinum tickets were among some of the best seats at the venue, they did not offer a tangible benefit compared to some of the general seating tickets, and the experience offered by the Platinum tickets was no better than the experience offered by some of the general tickets,” reads the ASA ruling.

“There could be Platinum tickets on sale at the same time as GA, with no discernible difference in terms of customer experience”

“We also considered that in the case of some Platinum tickets, the experience offered, when viewed objectively, was worse than the experience offered by some of the general tickets, because they were further from the stage or did not offer as good a view of the stage.

“Because of that, we concluded that the claim that the Platinum tickets were ‘the best available tickets’ had not been substantiated and was misleading.”

The watchdog adds that the advert must not appear again in its current form, and “welcome[s] Ticketmaster’s changes to their advertising”.

Ticketmaster UK managing director Andrew Parsons told IQ in December 2016 that Platinum’s dynamic pricing – where prices fluctuate based on market demand, as is common with airline tickets or hotel rooms – works because it’s about “selling the best seat. That’s understood by both consumers and artists.” With general admission, he added, “it’s harder to do”, but he’d “love to think” there will be a time when Ticketmaster’s GA tickets are also dynamically priced.

Why hasn’t dynamic pricing taken off in music?

A Ticketmaster spokesperson tells IQ: “We thank the ASA for their time and attention to this matter and the opportunity to explain our Platinum product. Platinum is one of the solutions Ticketmaster developed for artists and event organisers to get tickets, which are priced dynamically in some of the most in-demand areas, directly into the hands of fans. We constantly strive to be transparent and clear with the consumer. The wording in question on our website was changed over a year ago.”

 


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