A self-regulatory group that oversees businesses' advertising campaigns has reprimanded U.S. Bank for claims the U.S. Bancorp unit made during a push to win over credit card customers cut loose during an airline merger.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus' national advertising division criticized U.S. Bank for a series of ads it ran during a competition with American Express Co.
Both companies are offering cards with airline miles rewards programs to customers of Northwest Airlines, which merged with Delta Air Lines. Before the merger, U.S. Bank issued cards for Northwest's mileage program. But Delta chose to partner with Amex for its mileage rewards cards. U.S. Bank launched a new mileage rewards card in an attempt to retain some of the customers it was losing to the merger.
U.S. Bank's ad campaign presented comparisons between its card and Amex's that were designed to make its card look better and more valuable. The group reviewed the claims and determined that some of them could not. It directed U.S. Bank to never again make use of the claims, which it included in a postcard mailing campaign.
A spokesman for U.S. Bank said it would take "into consideration" what the group said, but also said its campaign was over. "This is an old campaign that's no longer in use and obviously going forward we'll take a look at what's been said and consider it each time," he said.