Watchdog Bans Continental Advert
The UK Advertising Standards Authority has banned a Continental tyre advertisement, concluding that it could not substantiate its claims that “nothing stops better than a Continental tyre.” Following a complaint by competitors Goodyear and Michelin, the ASA analysed the braking results of all 2007 tyre tests of summer tyres and found that Continental’s competitors had performed better in 28 instances.
As a result the ad – which in technical speak breached substantiation, truthfulness and other comparisons clauses – must not appear again in its current form. An internal document shows Goodyear made its case by submitting the results of all 2007 UK independent tyre tests (which were all won overall by Goodyear HydraGrip or Eagle F1 Asymmetric) to the ASA.
Tim Bailey, Continental Tyre Group Ltd’s advertising and sponsorship manager explained that the company commissioned TUV research that demonstrated the braking ability of its tyres: “We commissioned a special report by the TUV in Germany to test our tyres and those of our competitors in 2007 and this demonstrated that Continental tyres in the pattern and size tested are superior in braking performance in both wet and dry conditions. The claim that ‘nothing stops better than a Continental tyre’ is truthful based on this evidence.
“To substantiate our claim we did not rely on one test alone but took a weighted average of 102 tests across Europe for 2006 and 2007 for wet braking. Wet conditions are widely recognised to be the critical test of a tyre as this is where the widest variations in stopping distances are exhibited. These results showed that across the average of all the tests Continental tyres are the best in braking in the wet.
“Results from individual tests vary as many of the parameters for tyre tests are decided by the organisation or publication devising the test such as the make and model of car used. Subsequent tyre tests put doubt in the minds of the ASA as to whether the statement was true in all cases and we accept their decision.”
The ASA welcomed Continental’s statement that the claim “Nothing stops better than a Continental tyre” was being withdrawn and would not be used in future ads.