A television advertisement for Opel Astra featured two men in a cafe. One of the men was describing a dream he had the previous night.
MVO: "I had a crazy dream last night. I was in the middle of nowhere. My Astra broke down. And then suddenly Claudia Schiffer was there.”
Claudia Schiffer (sitting at the next table) turns around and states: "That’s impossible. An Astra doesn’t breakdown"
Announcer: “German engineering at its best. The Astra, with outstanding endurance. Tested over 100k kms.”
Claudia Schiffer: "It’s a german"
On-screen text stated: “The Astra - with outstanding endurance*
*Source: automotor und sport endurance test 12/2013, tested was an Astra Sports Tourer 2.0CDTI.”
Two complaints were received regarding the advertising. One complainant considered the claim, ‘an Astra doesn’t break down’, to be misleading as he had owned an Astra and it had broken down on a number of occasions. In view of his experience with his Astra, he considered that the statement was untrue.
The second complainant queried how such a claim could be made and considered it was misleading.
General Motors Ireland stated that the advertisement was a gentleman’s dream in which he meets Claudia Schiffer. The statement, “An Astra doesn’t break down” was made by Claudia Schiffer as she appears next to him in real life and was intended to be an ironic exaggeration of the dream.
They stated that the statement needed to be examined in the context of the full advertisement as it was further explained by the subsequent voice-over, stating “The Astra, with outstanding endurance tested over 100,000 kilometres”. They also stated that the full statement and the voice-over were further substantiated through a super on-screen which contained details of the endurance test.
In regards to the endurance test, they stated that it had been carried out by the respected trade journal Auto Motor und Sport, which tested the Opel Astra Sports Tourer over a two year time frame and a distance of over 100,000 km. They said that the Astra showed absolutely no defects and only slight signs of wear as covered by normal scheduled service maintenance checks.
They stated that there had been no other complaints in other European territories in which the advertisement had also been shown. They stated that it had not been their intention to breach the ASAI Code in any way.
Complaints Not Upheld
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’ response. The Committee, while noting that one of the complainants had experienced difficulties with his Opel Astra, did not consider that there was evidence that a significant number of Astra owners experienced similar issues. The Committee also noted that the advertisement had provided details of the source of the claim and the Astra model on which the claim had been made. The Committee accepted that the statement “An Astra doesn’t break down” had been sufficiently linked to the endurance test and did not, therefore, consider that the advertising was in breach of Section 2.9 of the Code.
No further action required.