Two TV ads for We Buy Any Car, seen in January and February 2017:
a. The first ad featured a man speaking to the camera about how it was possible to save time when selling a vehicle through We Buy Any Car. The man stated “I’m going to say something radical in this advert for WeBuyAnyCar.com. I might have got more money for my car, if I’d sold it privately. Yeah I said it. But I asked myself, how much do I value my time? Am I gonna put up with all that hassle for a bit more money? Would you?” The final scene featured a voice-over which stated, “Value your time? Enter your reg number now at WeBuyAnyCar.com, the UK’s favourite car buying service.”
b. The second ad featured a woman speaking to the camera about her experience using We Buy Any Car. The woman stated, “Right, brace yourself, this may shock you. I just sold my car with WeBuyAnyCar.com even though I might have got a better price if I sold it privately. Yeah they just let me say that in an ad for WeBuyAnyCar.com 'cause they know quite a lot of us value our time more than a few extra quid. Do you?” The final scene featured a voice-over which stated, “Value your time? Enter your reg number now at WeBuyAnyCar.com, the UK’s favourite car buying service.”
Thirteen complainants, who believed that the price difference between We Buy Any Car and private sellers could be as much as several hundreds of pounds, challenged whether the claims “for a bit more money” and “a few extra quid” were misleading and could be substantiated.
We Buy Any Car Ltd said that the purpose of the ad was to convey the message that although selling a car privately may achieve the best selling price, that process could be time consuming and involve labour costs.
We Buy Any Car said that the claims “a few more quid” and “a bit more money” did not indicate particular quantifiable amounts but instead were common colloquial phrases used to convey “more”. They said the claims were in keeping with the overall style and tone of the ads. They said the contested phrases could not be read as indicating quantifiable amounts because they handled a large range of cars of differing conditions and ages. They said that the claims were not literal but rather advertising puffery.
We Buy Any Car said that they had sought pre-publication advice from the CAP Copy Advice team in relation to similar non-broadcast material which included the phrase “So if you value your free time more than a few extra quid”. They said that the CAP Copy Advice team confirmed that the ad copy submitted was likely to comply with the CAP Code.
Clearcast said that they considered the two statements to be colloquial puffery and therefore did not require substantiation. They said that there was no way to adequately quantify an exact price difference between private sellers and We Buy Any Car.
The ASA noted that the claims in ad (a) “a bit more money” and ad (b) “a few extra quid” did not state an exact price difference that consumers could expect by using We Buy Any Car instead of pursuing a private sale. We acknowledged that both phrases could be seen as trivialising the price difference between We Buy Any Car and a private sale. However, we considered that the phrases were used in everyday language and would be understood differently depending on the context in which they were used.
We noted that both ads were styled in a casual manner with elements of humour and the actor’s tones were informal, which reinforced the light hearted nature of the ads. We considered that the primary message of the ads was that consumers may value their time more than the price difference between We Buy Any Car and a private sale. In that context we considered that the claims “a bit more money” and “a few extra quid” would be understood only to mean that selling a car through We Buy Any Car would generally result in less money, rather than creating an expectation regarding the likely size of that price difference. We therefore concluded that both ads were not misleading.
We investigated both ads under BCAP Code rules
Advertisements must not materially mislead or be likely to do so.
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. and 3.4 3.4 Standards set to secure the standards objectives [specified in para 3(e) above] shall in particular contain provision designed to secure that religious programmes do not involve:
a) any improper exploitation of any susceptibilities of the audience for such a programme; or
b) any abusive treatment of the religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination."
Section 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. 6). (Misleading advertising) and 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), but did not find them in breach.
No further action necessary.