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Standards agency clears Ford and Vauxhall ads

The Advertising Standards Authority has backed two manufacturers in a complaint about separate national press campaigns.

A national press advertisement for the Ford Fiesta Zetec claimed to offer "1 year's free insurance". The claim was linked to a section of small print, which stated: "12 months free insurance is available to drivers aged 21 plus, is subject to acceptance, terms and conditions."

The complainant, who applied for the free insurance, objected that the claim "free insurance" was misleading because it did not make clear that consumers would have to pay an additional fee to secure an excess of less than £600.

The ASA judged that the claim "free insurance" implied customers who bought a Ford car would receive an insurance policy without paying an upfront fee. It acknowledged that £600 was a high excess compared with some other policies but considered that readers would realise that terms and conditions applied to insurance cover and would take care to understand those conditions before signing up for the deal, so did not object.

In a separate case this week, Lexus (GB) Ltd had objected to a national press advertisement for the Vauxhall Vectra, headed "The strong silent type" and which featured a photograph of a silver Vauxhall Vectra. The complainants, who had a similar heading in their press advertisement for a Lexus and also featured a photograph of similar coloured car at the same angle, objected that the advertisement so closely resembled their own campaign that it was likely to cause confusion in the marketplace.

Vauxhall’s advertisers said the creative brief and the decision to run the campaign were made before the Lexus advertisement first appeared. They believed the Lexus was not a competitor of the Vauxhall Vectra.

The ASA acknowledged Lexus' claim the advertisement for the Vectra appeared after the Lexus advertisement, and the advertisements were similar save for the logos and brand names.

However, the ASA nevertheless considered that the strapline was a general one and that the advertisement for the Vauxhall Astra was unlikely to mislead readers or potential buyers because the advertisers'' name and logo were featured prominently.

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