ASA rules on Unipart ad

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has just released its ruling on a complaint made by TMD Friction regarding comparison results featured on the stopsecret.org website run by Unipart Automotive. Six brands of brake pads were tested by the VCA MIRA test centre using mean fully developed deceleration tests, an industry-wide recognised test for effective braking performance. The same vehicle was used for each of the tests with a human driver and onboard measuring equipment. Details of the nature and results of the tests were downloadable from the website and indicated that the Unipart brake pads produced the best results. TMD claimed that the advert was misleading as they believed the test used for comparison was unreliable.

The ASA upheld the claim against Unipart, stating that consumers were likely to understand that the results related to the total stopping distance of the vehicle and that equal pedal pressure would have been applied in each of the tests. The ASA expressed concern that whilst it was the aim of the test to apply identical pedal pressure, this could not be guaranteed. The ASA ruled that the comparison used was misleading and Unipart Automotive was told not to continue using the ads in their current form and to ensure that any future comparisons were not likely to mislead.

David Baines, Head of Global Aftermarket at TMD Friction said, “As TMD Friction is the market leader in manufacturing brake friction, we realised that the test result claims could not have been correct and we challenged Unipart’s validity on many fronts. We are pleased that the ASA has now ruled that Unipart’s claims are misleading, ordered it to cease its ‘Stop Secret’ campaign, and requested that it doesn’t repeat such misleading campaigns in the future”.

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