Hostels in New Zealand disagree about the use of the word "best hostels".
The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint against a backpackers group that said its establishments were "New Zealand's best hostels".
The Youth Hostels Association complained that Base Backpackers' claim suggested its hostels were indeed New Zealand's best and might lead readers to believe this had been determined by an independent industry review.
Base said the term "best" was only ever intended to be "merely advertising puffery or hyperbole".
The association wrote to Base in May 2007 to express its concerns about the printed advertisements. It said that Base indicated it would modify its advertising.
However, subsequent advertisements still described Base as "New Zealand's best hostels".
After the association complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, Base withdrew its advertisements but maintained the word was being used as hyperbole.
The authority found Base to be in breach of Rule 2 of the Advertising Code of Ethics which relates to truthful presentation.
"The word was used to describe the quality of the services being promoted. The claims were absolute and, by their nature, comparative. Therefore rather than being hyperbolic, it was the panel's view that the word was used as a superlative and was, in the context of these claims, intended to be taken seriously."
In making its ruling, the authority considered its decision in May last year to uphold a similar complaint against Kiwi Experience, another backpacker industry member, which claimed it was using hyperbole.
The full article is at the NZ Herald.