19:02, October 02 42 0 theguardian.com

2018-10-02 19:02:04
Noel Edmonds fails to get Lloyds Bank’s black horse ads banned

Noel Edmonds has failed in a bid to get Lloyds Bank’s black horse TV ads banned, as the TV presenter’s £60m legal battle with the banking group becomes increasingly acrimonious.

The former Deal or No Deal presenter’s claim stems from a historic fraud scandal at the bank’s HBOS Reading arm, which affected 60 small business owners, relating to losses from the collapse of his entertainment firm Unique Group a decade ago, as well as the distress and humiliation he says he has suffered.

Keystone Law, representing Edmonds and other victims of the fraud, lodged a complaint with the advertising regulator against the bank’s TV campaign featuring its famous black horse.

The ad campaign features a black horse running past a memorial service, a neighbourhood with a mother caring for her baby and on a beach with children. A voiceover said: “Yesterday, today, and tomorrow we have been and always will be by your side.” Music lyrics in the background included the line “we’ve come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good”.

The law firm said that the ad campaign was misleading and should be banned because it objected to the way Lloyds Bank, which acquired HBOS after the fraud, had handled customers affected by the scandal.

Lloyds said the claims in the ad were not misleading and that 85% of those it identified in a review as affected by the scandal had accepted compensation.

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The Advertising Standards Authority rejected Keystone’s complaint, saying the ad did not break its rules.

The watchdog said the claim to customers to literally be “by your side” was “advertising puffery”.

The ASA said it did not believe that viewers “would interpret the claim to be a commentary on the situation of the victims of the HBOS fraud case, or to think that it was directly connected to their engagement with Lloyds Bank in 2018”.

“We did not consider the details of the HBOS fraud case to be material information that needed to be included in the ad to prevent customers from being misled.”

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