UK Advertising Authority: Ticketmaster Platinum Cannot Claim ‘Best Available Tickets’

The UK’s Advertising Standard Authority (ASA) dissected Ticketmaster UK Ltd’s explanation for a former Platinum tickets ad and concluded that changes had to be made. 

Ticketmaster Platinum
– Ticketmaster Platinum

The slogan, which Ticketmaster claims to have changed on its website over a year ago, used to say Platinum tickets were “the best available tickets.” Platinum is Ticketmaster’s attempt at offering tickets that are priced according to their true market value, depending on supply and demand. The company says the program tackles the issue of popular tickets selling out in no time by pricing tickets for in-demand events higher, thereby increasing fans’ chances of securing tickets on the primary market.

After its review, the ASA ruled, “the ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Ticketmaster UK Ltd not to claim in future that their Platinum tickets were ‘the best available tickets’ if that was not the case.”

According to Ticketmaster, one benefit of Platinum tickets was the fact that they were hand-picked by clients in consultation with Ticketmaster and considered among the best seats in the house, which varied from event to event.

Only seated Platinum tickets go on sale the same time as general tickets. Platinum standing tickets only go on sale once all regular standing tickets have sold out. “The benefit to customers,” Ticketmaster argued in dealing with the ASA, “was that they were able to purchase tickets that were otherwise completely unavailable.”

All of these supposed benefits led to Ticketmaster choosing the slogan “the best available tickets,” being aware that “best” was a subjective term that did not imply the tickets offered a better or different experience than the general tickets for an event.

The company believed consumers wouldn’t interpret the claim any differently, and understand that it only applied at the time of booking. In the words of the ASA, “they did not believe consumers were likely to interpret the claim to mean they would be purchasing the best tickets that had ever been sold for that event.”

In Ticketmaster’s view, the slogan was simply meant to imply that there were potential benefits to general tickets. Still, three complainants thought the slogan was misleading, and the ASA subsequently took a look at Platinum tickets.

After its examination, the ASA concluded that a) standing Platinum tickets did not offer any different experience at all and b) only some of the seated Platinum tickets did.

“We considered the examples provided and noted that whilst some of the seat allocations were among the best seats at the venue, because they were in blocks closest to the stage, or in direct sight-line of the stage, there were blocks/rows of general ticket seats which were as good as the blocks/rows of Platinum ticket seats, in terms of proximity to the stage and/or line of sight to the stage. We also noted that there were some blocks of general seats that were better than some of the Platinum seats, because they were closer to the stage or offered a better view of the stage.” 

The authority also “considered that consumers were likely to interpret the claim that the Platinum tickets were ‘the best available tickets’ to mean that those tickets were better than any other available tickets for the event generally; not that they were the best available at the time that consumers were purchasing them, that they were more easily obtained than general tickets because there was less competition for them, or that they were tickets in some of the most in-demand areas of the venue.”

A Ticketmaster spokesperson said: “We thank the ASA for their time and attention to this matter and the opportunity to explain our Platinum product. Platinum is one of the solutions Ticketmaster developed for artists and event organizers to get tickets, which are priced dynamically in some of the most in-demand areas, directly into the hands of fans. We constantly strive to be transparent and clear with the consumer. The wording in question on our website was changed over a year ago.”