A promotional leaflet from Lloyds TSB bank has been criticised as misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The bank says it did not intend to mislead people
The leaflet purported to be a handwritten note, and a circular and a mailing both looked as if they had been personally redirected by a neighbour.
The ASA said the leaflets for home insurance could "mislead readers" and did not make clear they were adverts.
Lloyds TSB apologised, saying it had not intended to mislead people and had now stopped using the leaflets.
But it justified its marketing ploy by claiming that it is the country's leading seller of home insurance - and thus was statistically most likely to be insuring the recipient's neighbour.
It also pointed out that all the material carried the logo of Lloyds TSB Insurance.
Despite receiving only one complaint, the ASA took a dim view of this approach.
"The 'handwritten' text on the leaflet, circular and mailing could mislead readers into believing it was a recommendation from people known to them," it said.
"We also considered that the leaflet, which came in a plain envelope with a 'handwritten' message on it, and the circular, which resembled a page torn from a notebook, did not make sufficiently clear that they were advertising material."
The leaflet was designed to look like a folded handwritten note.
The circular said: "Redirect - I got a great deal on my home insurance with these guys. Just thought you might be interested."
Meanwhile the mailing - although printed - carried a redirection from a fictitious name and address, with handwritten text saying: "My home's covered already. I thought you might be interested. Sorry about my daughter's drawing."
The ASA acknowledged that most people would realise that the bank's material was an advert but said "the fictitious recommendation on the leaflet could mislead."