Advertising Standards Authority Does Not Uphold Complaints Against Belron
June 22, 2012

by Katie O'Mara,

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) did not uphold complaints of misleading advertisements against Belron UK this week in the United Kingdom. Autoglass parent company Belron UK underwent adjudication this week by the ASA regarding a radio advertising campaign that generated multiple complaints from listeners.

Belron UK has been under investigation by the ASA because of twelve complaints filed against a media campaign. The complaints alleged that radio advertisements were “misleading” and were attempting to scaremonger listeners.

“Twelve listeners challenged whether the claim ‘every chip will eventually crack’ was misleading and could be substantiated,” reads documentation from the ASA. “Three listeners challenged whether the claim ‘when he turned on the air con in his car, ‘crack,’ the chip split right in front of them’ misleadingly implied that a car's air conditioning could crack existing windscreen chips. Seven of the listeners challenged whether the ad was scaremongering in order to sell the service by claiming that all chips would crack.”

In response, Autoglass provided the ASA with report that summarized the scientific work and independent studies that have been done to show how much weaker glass becomes after the windshield chips.

The company [Autoglass] also claimed that the intention of the ad was to inform customers that repairing a chip could save time and money in the long run.

“They said they raised awareness of how chips could turn into cracks, although they acknowledged that not every chip was repairable. They said their advertising message was to bring to the attention of motorists that air conditioning could accelerate the process of chips becoming cracks,” read ASA documentation.

The Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC) endorsed Autoglass's response and said their consultant had been provided with the in-house report, the independent studies and research, and the studies commissioned by Autoglass also provided to the ASA and concluded the claims were substantiated.

The ASA did not uphold any of the complaints against Autoglass.

“We considered that the research and customer survey had shown that a chip would in all likelihood develop into a crack and therefore concluded that the claim "every chip will eventually crack" had been substantiated,” said the ASA. "Because the research had shown that it was possible for the air conditioning to affect a chip on a windscreen and the ad did not claim that that would happen on all occasions, we concluded that the claim was unlikely to mislead listeners. We noted the intention of the ad was to make listeners aware that early repair was likely to save them time and money and considered that, given the substantiation had shown that a chip would in all likelihood develop into a crack and could do so within a relatively short space of time, the ad had not unjustifiably played on listeners fears. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.”

According to the website, the ASA is the United Kingdom’s independent organization that monitors advertising and ensures that consumers can trust what they see in advertisements. The group accepts complaints and makes judgments about advertising code violations within the United Kingdom.

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