The interpretation of a “premier” claim is likely to depend on the context in which the claim appears. Generally, “premier” claims are likely to be understood as meaning “best-selling” (in the same way as “no.1” or “leading” claims), or will be considered an objective or subjective superlative claim. When making any objective comparative claim such as “best-selling”, marketers must comply with rules on comparative claims (see Comparisons: general).
Premier as a best-selling claim
Premier claims are often understood to mean best-selling. Best-selling claims are objective comparative claims, and the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) Code requires an advertiser to hold documentary evidence to prove claims that consumers are likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation (3.33). The nature of the evidence required to substantiate these claims will vary depending on the context in which the claim is made and how it is likely to be understood by its audience, but in all such cases it is likely that comparative evidence relating to unit-sales, market share, or both, will be required. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) considered that, in the absence of further qualification that explained what criteria was used to determine a no. 1 claim, the claim “#1 World’s Live-Games Provider”, would be understood as an objective claim that the advertiser was the best-selling live games provider on the market. Because the advertiser did not have evidence to demonstrate that this was the case, the ad was considered misleading (ASTOK T/a TVBet, 15 April 2020). (See also LittleLamb Ltd, 11 February 2015, and British Institute of Interior Design, 18 December 2019).
Premier as a subjective or objective superlative claim
In some contexts the ASA may consider a “premier” claim to mean best or leading in another objectively measurable way. In 2013 the ASA considered that the claim “North East’s Premier Driving School” was likely to be interpreted as being an objective claim of superiority, and that, without further information which explained on what grounds the claim was made, consumers were likely to understand that Bradleys had the most pupils, the highest pass rate or the highest financial turnover in the area (Bradleys School of Motoring, 30 January 2013).
However, in some circumstances, the ASA and CAP may regard “premier” claims as subjective matters of opinion, and treat them in the same way as unqualified “best” claims. Claims such as “premier comfort” are likely to be considered expressions of subjective opinion, depending on the context in which they appear. In 2011, the ASA held that, when it was considered in the context of the services offered by the advertiser, a claim to be the “UK’s Premier Modelling Advice Service” was likely to be understood by consumers as an expression of the advertiser’s opinion of the quality of their advice, and was therefore a subjective claim that was not capable of substantiation (Model Advice Ltd, 12 October 2011).
Advertisers should be aware that, even if a criterion of subjective, a claim may still be considered objective if it is presented as the outcome of a customer survey.
Objective comparative claims
When making an objective comparative claim such as “best-selling”, marketers must comply with rules on comparative claims (see Comparisons: general, Comparisons: identifiable competitors, and Comparisons: verifiability).
Note: This advice is given by the CAP Executive about non-broadcast advertising. It does not constitute legal advice. It does not bind CAP, CAP advisory panels or the ASA. CAP’s Advice Online entries provide guidance on interpreting the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct & Promotional Marketing.
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Whether or not something breaches the Code in this way can often be a fine line – marketers who are unsure whether their ads are likely to breach the Code are invited to contact the Copy Advice team.