I was in the UK this week – I’m always fascinated to watch the TV ads and see the differences in approach between the UK and the US.
One ad that really grated was a Renault car ad – it will become clear why!
The premise of that ad is a tour bus taking visitors around to view star’s homes in the Hollywood hills (presumably), big houses, pools, expensive cars, etc., etc.
The typical image that is portrayed of a luxurious and expensive lifestyle. The bus departs. The scene cuts to a guy on a radio saying ‘It’s OK, they’ve gone for the day’. What we see next at first made me smile. In each house, the big, expensive and exotic cars are moved into the garage, and the Renault moved from hiding, into the driveway.
Which is fine and dandy, quite amusing really. Except that Renault does NOT sell cars in the United States. I’ve never seen one anywhere. Not even an odd import (which I do see once in a while, Puegots, Citroens, etc.). Never a single Renault.
So, a bit of harmless fun you say?
Well after chewing it for a while, and playing devil’s advocate with myself, it still grates. Surely there is a truthful way to achieve the same end result? It troubles me that a company will play fast and loose with such a basic lie. As the body that supervises advertising in the UK, the Advertising Standards Authority, says:
“The main principles of the advertising standards codes are that ads should not mislead, cause harm, or offend.”
It clearly doesn’t offend or cause harm (well not to me at least), but what about that mislead bit?
Tell me if you think I’m being too pedantic……..