A gay travel agent has had one of its adverts banned for using a trade logo without permission.
Mantrav was told by the Advertising Standards Authority that its advert was “misleading” because it implied the company was endorsed by a gay trade body.
The complaint concerned a magazine ad for Mantrav International which displayed the logo of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) in the bottom right hand corner.
IGLTA said that Mantrav was using the logo without permission, as it was no longer a member of the association.
It claimed that it had received a number of complaints about the company from customers and IGLTA members and was not allowing Mantrav to renew its membership.
In response, Mantrav argued that IGLTA was a US company and that its logo was not a trademark.
The company also claimed that its holding company, Zyra Group was a member of the IGLTA.
However, the ASA dismissed Mantrav’s arguments and upheld the complaint, concluding that the ad was ‘misleading” to customers.
The company was told not to use the ad again in its current form.
Malcolm Hardy, of Mantrav, said that he was considering taking the ASA to court over the adjudication, which he said was damaging his company’s reputation.
He claimed that the complaint had been submitted by a “disgruntled ex-employee” who had set up a rival company.
Mr Hardy said that ‘Mantrav’ was only a trademark and as Zyra Group is an IGLTA member, the advert was entitled to use the logo.
In response to the suggestion that IGLTA had received complaints about Mantrav, he said that all complaints except one stemmed from an incident in which holidaymakers were let down by a resort company, rather than Mantrav.
He said: “This is about a tiny logo, the size of a pinhead, and it’s all been blown out of proportion.”
He added: “Gay people are very hard to please. Anybody that calls up [with a complaint], we will deal with it. I’m not saying that we’re 100 per cent, that we’re angels from heaven but it’s not all on our side.
“We’re here to serve the gay and lesbian community and will do it to the best of our ability.”