BBB National Programs Archive

NAD Reviews Two Commercials Promoting Capital One ‘Quicksilver’ Cards; Recommends Advertiser Modify or Discontinue One Following Chase Bank Challenge

New York, NY – Nov. 10, 2015 – The National Advertising Division has recommended that Capital One Bank (USA) modify or discontinue one commercial for the company’s Quicksilver cash-back credit card. NAD determined that a second commercial did not convey an implied message about competitors’ cash-back cards and found that neither commercial conveyed an overall message of superiority.

NAD is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s system of self-regulation. It is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.

Chase Bank challenged implied claims in Capital One’s commercials “Big World” and “Point A.” Claims at issue included:

  • Chase Freedom and other competing cash back rewards credit cards do not offer consumers the ability to earn cash back on all purchases, regardless of where those purchases are made.
  • The ability to earn 5% bonus cash back with the Chase Freedom card is only available at limited merchants and in limited times.
  • The Quicksilver card provides superior value to consumers as compared with the Chase Freedom card and other competing cash back cards.

Capital One’s “Big World” commercial claimed that the Quicksilver card gives consumers 1.5% cash back “on every purchase, everywhere,” followed by the question, “Can your card say that?” The commercial compared features of the Quicksilver card to competitor cards, including  the ability to get 1.5% cash back on “every purchase, everywhere.” NAD determined that at least one reasonable take away from the commercial was that competitor cards do not give any cash back on some purchases.

That message, NAD found, was reinforced by the visuals of an urban skyline going dark as Capital One spokesman Samuel L. Jackson described the cash-back rewards of competing cards. At the same time, NAD was not persuaded that the images or language in the commercial conveyed a falsely denigrating message about competing cards or a message of overall superiority. However, NAD recommended the advertiser either discontinue the “Big World” commercial or modify it to clearly and conspicuously disclose that competitor cards offer base cash back rewards.

NAD noted that the advertiser’s “Point A” commercial highlighted how the Quicksilver card differs from competitor cards by comparing the “complication” involved in obtaining cash rewards using competitor cards.  The “Point A” commercial does not directly compare Quicksilver’s cash back reward “on every purchase everywhere” to competitor cards, but instead states:  “Some cash back cards make things so complicated.  They limit where you earn bonus cash back.  Here’s the way I see it, you are at Point A and your cash back is at Point B.  The simple way between them, the Quicksilver card from Capital One.  Quicksilver earns you unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase, everywhere.

NAD determined that the commercial highlighted a truthful comparison between the Quicksilver card and competitor cards and concluded that the “Point A” commercial did not convey a misleading message about the base rewards of competing products and was not falsely denigrating.  NAD noted that Chase, too, is free to highlight the benefits of its product in its own advertising for Chase Freedom card and advertise the base cash-back and bonus rewards.

Capital One, in its advertiser’s statement, said that while it did not agree with NAD’s findings regarding the “Big World” commercial, the company “will take the concern into account with its future advertising.  Capital One appreciates NAD’s careful review of this matter.”

Note: A recommendation by NAD to modify or discontinue a claim is not a finding of wrongdoing and an advertiser’s voluntary discontinuance or modification of claims should not be construed as an admission of impropriety. It is the policy of NAD not to endorse any company, product, or service. Decisions finding that advertising claims have been substantiated should not be construed as endorsements.