HomeInsightsCAP and BCAP publish seven key tips on the use of testimonials and endorsements in ads


CAP and BCAP recognise that testimonials and endorsements are a popular, effective, and perfectly legitimate, method of promoting a product or service. However, they say, marketers should take care to make sure that such claims, whether made by celebrities or members of the public, are accurate, capable of substantiation and unlikely to mislead. CAP and BCAP have published seven key tips to ensure that quotes from clients are CAP Code compliant:

  • demonstrate they are genuine: ensure that you hold evidence that any testimonials and endorsements you use are real (unless they’re obviously fictitious), and that they accurately reflect what the person said; it is also advised to retain the contact details of the person featured for as long as the ad is used;
  • obtain permission: ensure you have consent before using testimonials (although certain exceptions apply to using quotes from published sources — see CAP Code rule 3.48;
  • make sure they are relevant: avoid using testimonials or endorsements in misleading ways, e.g., “Before and After” photographs used to promote weight loss products (if not otherwise prohibited) should accurately portray the actual weight lost over the stated period;
  • use #ad: advertisers should not pretend to be consumers, and neither should third parties paid to promote their products; to ensure your use of social influencers is compliant, see guidance on Influencers on the CAP/BCAP website;
  • avoid incentivising positive endorsements: encouraging customers to post positive reviews may breach the Codes, as may amending or deleting negative reviews (although removing genuinely offensive comments, personal information or potentially illegal content is likely to be fine);
  • be aware of restricted categories: take particular care around sensitive ad categories, e.g., neither health professionals nor celebrities should be used to endorse medicines; and
  • ensure they comply more generally: claiming, “Yeah, but the customer said it” is not an excuse to circumvent the Codes; testimonials must not make claims that would otherwise break the rules.

To read the seven tips in full and for links to further information, click here.