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ASA goes to town on automotive adverts

Two manufacturers and one dealer have been slapped on the wrist by the Advertising Standards Agency after receiving complaints from adverts.

Evans Halshaw placed a radio ad which contained a voice-over that stated: “Outstanding. It’s back. Right now at Evans Halshaw, you get any car from their outstanding range with just a £99 deposit then a full five years interest free credit.”

A listener said the ad was misleading because the offer applied only to certain used cars.

The ASA considered the word “outstanding” to be ambiguous because some listeners may understand “outstanding” to be a description of the whole range of cars from Evans Halshaw. ASA have told Evans Halshaw not to repeat the ad.

Meanwhile the ASA has also received complaints about adverts created by Mitsubishi, Suzuki and Volvo.

Mitsubishi

A magazine ad for the Mitsubishi Outlander claimed “It’s rude to guzzle, the seven-seat Outlander has the lowest emissions in its class and fuel consumption of over 40mpg. That’s on par with the most economical small cars. Enjoy with a clear conscience.”

The ad’s footnote stated “Mitsubishi Outlander Elegance manuel fuel consumption in mpg (ltrs/100km): urban 32.3 (8.8), extra urban 47.9 (5.9), combined 40.9 (6.9). CO2 emissions 183g/km”.

The complaint challenged whether the car could be described as “low” and “on par with the most econonmical small cars” and whether the car was environmentally friendly.

Mitsubishi agreed the claim “on par with the most economical small cars” should not have been used in the ad. It identified the error quickly and sent two new version of the ad from which the claim had been removed.

The ASA ruled that the advert was misleading and advised Mitsubishi to seek advice from the from the CAP Copy Advice team before making future environmental claims.

Suzuki

Suzuki has been banned from using the current TV ad for its SX4 model (see below).

A viewer believed the ad was misleading because the voice-over implied the 0% finance offer was available on all SX4 cars, but the superimposed text stated that it did not apply to the model shown.

Suzuki said the text made it clear the offer was available on the 2WD version of the car only and emphasised that they had no intention of misleading viewers.

However, the ASA said because the voice-over stated “The SX4, now available with 0% finance,” it considered that most viewers were likely to think that offer referred to the entire SX4 range.

The ASA said the ad was ambiguous and likely to mislead and banned the advert from being shown in its current form again.

Volvo

Three viewers thought the image of the snarling rodent was frightening and likely to distress children.

However, the ASA considered that the rodent was not excessively alarming and was unlikely to cause children distress. It took no action.

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