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Coronation Concert advert ‘misleading’, says ASA

The UK watchdog received 98 complaints from members of the public who were unable to claim tickets for the live music event

By James Hanley on 26 Jul 2023

King Charles

image © Dan Marsh

The UK’s advertising watchdog has ruled that communication on a ballot for tickets to May’s Coronation Concert was “misleading” following complaints from the public.

The 20,000-cap concert was held outside Windsor Castle on 7 May this year in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, and featured artists such as Lionel Richie, Take That, Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli, Nicole Scherzinger and Olly Murs.

BBC Studios was responsible for organising the event and had contracted Ticketmaster UK to administer the public ballot for one of 5,000 pairs of tickets between 10-28 February 2023. Successful entries were drawn at random, with the winning entrants contacted and asked to accept the pair of tickets within 14 days.

Posts on the BBC and Ticketmaster websites stated that tickets were “not being allocated on a first-come first-served basis”.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation after receiving 98 complaints from people who were unable to claim tickets, despite receiving an email saying: “Congratulations, you have been successful in the ballot for a pair of standing tickets to The Coronation Concert.”

It transpired that entrants who received the email had not in fact been successful in securing tickets, but had instead been selected to enter a supplementary round with an additional chance to get tickets.

Additionally, 56 complainants challenged whether claims the tickets would not be allocated on a “first-come first-served basis” were misleading.

“Although there was never any intention to mislead, we accept the ASA’s ruling”

The BBC said that since some tickets remained unallocated following two ballots, it decided to offer the remaining tickets to a third group on a first-come first-served basis due to “time constraints”.

Ticketmaster emailed further entrants on 25 April to claim the remaining tickets, with wording provided by BBC Studios. BBC Studios accepted the email was “not well-worded”, but said that the first two stages of the balloting process were followed, since it congratulated the recipient twice, before explaining that tickets in this supplementary round were being offered on a first-come first-served basis.

The ASA upheld both complaints and told BBC Studios and Ticketmaster UK to ensure future marketing communications “did not misleadingly imply that consumers had been allocated tickets if that was not the case”.

“We also told them to ensure that future marketing communications did not omit relevant material information that tickets would be allocated on a first-come first-served basis,” it added.

A BBC Studios spokesperson says: “Although there was never any intention to mislead, we accept the ASA’s ruling. Following two fully compliant ballots, a small number of unclaimed tickets were offered on a first come first served basis to unsuccessful ballot entrants.

“We also reiterate our apology for a poorly worded email, which implied applicants had already won tickets for The Coronation Concert. We have taken steps to ensure neither situation is repeated and can confirm that no successful ballot entrant from the first two rounds was denied the opportunity to attend the event.”


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