The Advertising Standards Agency has banned an advert for Michelin tyres which took the form of a “tyre test” – pitting its product against another budget offering.
Appearing on an advertorial page of The Telegraph online, the advert appeared in conjunction with a video presented by Top Gear’s former Stig, racing driver Ben Collins.
But one complainant contested the implication that the budget tyre on test was representative of all budget tyres and that Michelin’s products would outperform all budget rivals, stating that some had a higher braking performance rating than some Michelin tyres.
In recording its judgement, the ASA said that it had “Considered that the ad as a whole would be understood by consumers as an objective test between budget and Michelin tyres, and that they would expect for the results to be representative of the range of tyres available in both sections of the market.
“As the test concluded that braking distance and handling were improved when driving with the premium set of Michelin tyres, we considered that consumers would therefore understand from the ad that Michelin tyres had superior performance in wet conditions than budget tyres in general.”
The ASA concluded that the Michelin advert had breached CAP codes related to misleading advertising and comparisons with identifiable competitors
Breaches were also recoded in relation to the advert’s clear identification as a marketing campaign and not an independent tyre test carried out by The Telegraph.
In its findings, the ASA stated: “The ad featured several references to sponsorship and the article being 'in association with' Michelin and, although the ASA considered that these may have served to show that a financial arrangement was in place, they were insufficient to identify the content specifically as an ad.”
The ASA ordered that the ad must not appear again in the form complained about.