Ticketmaster has been censured by the UK advertising watchdog over its role in the ticket ballot for the Coronation Concert earlier this year.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received more than 100 complaints in total regarding the way in which 10,000 tickets made available for the event were allocated. The concert was held at Windsor Castle to mark King Charles’ coronation in early May and was headlined by Take That, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie.
The ASA received 98 complaints from members of the public who were unable to claim tickets for the event. Some 94 complainants challenged whether an email that suggested an applicant had successfully secured tickets was misleading, while 56 complainants challenged whether the claims in ads that the tickets would not be allocated on a first-come first-served basis were misleading. Many people took to social media at the time to complain about inaccurate messages they had received concerning their ticket applications.
ASA took the formal complaints to BBC Studios, which was responsible for organising the Coronation Concert, who responded to the claims on behalf of Ticketmaster, which had administered the ballot.
The ASA upheld complaints over an email with the subject line of “The Coronation Concert – Congratulations” and first line “Congratulations, you have been successful in the ballot for a pair of standing tickets to The Coronation Concert”. It ruled that recipients would have expected they had been allocated tickets, whereas they were actually being “congratulated” for reaching another ballot phase. The ASA sound the ad breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 3.1 and 3.3 concerning misleading advertising.
The ASA also upheld complaints over claims that tickets would not be allocated on a first-come first-served basis. While BBC Studios and Ticketmaster had initially stated that to be the case in initial marketing, a final ballot added to allocate remaining tickets was dependent on when consumers made their application. On that point, these ads breached CAP Code (Edition 12) rule 3.1 on misleading advertising.
The ASA told BBC Studios and Ticketmaster UK to ensure that 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,” the ASA added.