January 2, 2014

Financial services regulator FCA has cracked down like a ton of Drosselmeyers on aggregator Monkey Supermeerkat after the comparison site ran ads making claims adjudged to be “capable of more than one interpretation by consumers”.

This might seem a relatively trivial offence at first sight, given that, as any lawyer or philosopher will readily affirm, it is nigh on impossible to claim anything that is not capable of at least two different interpretations.

Read on, however, and your perturbometer needle may yet twitch just a smidgeon!

In one infamous Monkey Supermeerkcat ad run earlier this year, some smarmily camp Mark Ronson look-alike, claimed outrageously that:

a) “Bill here just saved £304 on his car insurance” at Monkey Supermeerkcat (when in fact the person seated behind him in dressing gown, slippers and pyjamas had not just saved £304 on his car insurance, was in fact an actor, and wasn’t in fact even called Bill!)

b) “Bill” now “feels so good he thinks he can run with wolves” (meaningless)

c) “There are no wolves in Croydon” (debatable)

d) “Like Bill, more people got cheaper car insurance quotes at money supermarket than at any leading price comparison site” (see below)

This final assertion is certainly alarmingly open ended. How, for instance are we to make sense of the two comparatives (“more” and “cheaper”) both seemingly being pointed at the same object clause (“any leading comparison site”)?

In failing to stipulate “any other leading comparison site” the ad’s central claim becomes inherently self-cancelling, and therefore unworthy, you will be relieved to hear, of purposeful subjection to any further scrutiny.

There is, in short, no obvious way in which the divergent elements of this verbal formulation can be arranged or rearranged so as to create any coherent statement, true, false or otherwise.

The FCA concluded that some consumers might assume the wording of the ads meant that Monkey Supermeerkat “was cheaper than other leading comparison sites more than 50% of the time, when in fact, based on its own survey data, it was cheaper than the competitors in question only around 34% of the time.”

On which basis, Monkey Supermeerkat have had to agree to stop claiming or appearing to claim that their quotes are cheaper more than 50% of the time (which they aren’t).

If you would like to see for yourself the claims no longer being made, simply click on the image below to watch the “running with cats” video.

cheaper


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