Ad description

A TV ad for Churchill car insurance showed the Churchill dog in a coin operated car ride in a shopping centre. The ad featured several close up clips of the number "80" written on the car and dog's helmet. One scene showed the car ride in the background and a shopping centre advertising board in the foreground. Text on the board stated "80% 8 year No Claim Discount". The voice-over stated "To enjoy an 80% safe driver discount chat to Churchill." Throughout the majority of the ad, text at the bottom of the screen stated "Applies to new customers for the first year. 75% of customers would have achieved this between Jan-Mar 2013".


The complainant challenged whether the claim "80% safe driver discount" was misleading, because they understood that drivers could be excluded from the offer for reasons unrelated to the safety of their driving.


Churchill said they knew from their data that statistically, if a driver had an 8-year No Claims Discount (NCD) the likelihood is that they had not made an accident claim, and were therefore a safer driver, but that of course individuals' circumstances would vary. They said the ad made clear that the "safe driver discount" was based on an 8-year NCD, and did not believe consumers would be misled. They also said it was possible for those who had claimed to be able to meet the requirement if they had protected their NCD. They said the ad also made clear the likelihood (75%) of achieving the discount.

Clearcast said the ad did not state or imply that those without 8 years NCD were bad drivers, but that it was reasonable to state that those who had 8 years NCD could be deemed safe drivers. They said the ad made the basis of the claim clear with large on-screen text that stated "80% 8 year No Claim Discount".


Not upheld

The ASA understood that the NCD was based on not having claimed on your car insurance for a certain period, although it was also possible for consumers to pay an additional premium to protect their NCD, which meant your NCD would not be affected, even if you made a claim. The complainant believed the reference to "safe driver" was misleading, because if you claimed for an accident that was not your fault you would still lose your NCD. Although we acknowledged this was the case, we considered that the large on-screen text which stated "80% 8 year No Claim Discount" clearly qualified the basis of the claim "80% safe driver discount" and that consumers would understand that "safe driver" was a reference to the NCD. We did not consider it was misleading to link the NCD with driving safety, provided the basis for the claim was made clear. We therefore concluded the claim was not misleading.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules  3.1 3.1 Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.  and  3.2 3.2 Advertisements must not mislead consumers by omitting material information. They must not mislead by hiding material information or presenting it in an unclear, unintelligible, ambiguous or untimely manner.
Material information is information that consumers need in context to make informed decisions about whether or how to buy a product or service. Whether the omission or presentation of material information is likely to mislead consumers depends on the context, the medium and, if the medium of the advertisement is constrained by time or space, the measures that the advertiser takes to make that information available to consumers by other means.
 (Misleading advertising),  3.9 3.9 Broadcasters must hold documentary evidence to prove claims that the audience is likely to regard as objective and that are capable of objective substantiation. The ASA may regard claims as misleading in the absence of adequate substantiation.  (Substantiation),  3.10 3.10 Advertisements must state significant limitations and qualifications. Qualifications may clarify but must not contradict the claims that they qualify.  (Qualification) and  14.6 14.6 Unless they are obviously addressed to a specialist audience and shown either on specialised financial channels or stations or in breaks in relevant financial programmes, advertisements subject to this section must be considered to be addressed to non-specialist audiences. No specialist knowledge should normally be required for a clear understanding of claims or references. For example, exceptions, conditions or expressions that would be understood by finance specialists must be avoided or explained if they would be unfamiliar to the audience.  (Financial products, services and investments) but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.


14.6     3.1     3.10     3.2     3.9    

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