views expressed here are my own!

Tv adverts and their flaws


Don’t you just love it when you watch these adverts and they either have some inaccuracies in them or tell you about market research they have done which is inconclusive at best. Like for example these hair care ads which say something like 80% out of 265 women said they could feel a difference and that is their representative sample?

Or the most recent bupa advert for their care home packages. In it there is this 83 year old talking about his life and mentions that he got a medal in the war and he is depicted as a fairly young chap given a medal. Now I don’t know about you, but I was under the impression that the British army got seriously involved only in WW2 and Falklands War, the other more recent missions would have been to late for this guy. So I assumed that the advertiser was suggesting this guy got that medal in WW2 which would be incorrect if you do the math. He would have been too young to actually participate. I know in ads you should be able to have some artistic license, but you should make sure that all your facts are correct to give the product a certain credibility.

Call me pedantic or sad but I don’t like historical inaccuracies in adverts. Therefore I asked the ASA what they thought of this and funnily enough they said it wasn’t enough to warrant a full blown investigation, they even mentioned that this guy could have gotten his medal in the Korean War? Ok the guy from the ASA was absolutely correct to note the Korean War, but what War are you thinking of when you hear someone saying ‘the War’? I tend to think of WW2!

So if you have seen that advert which would you have thought he was talking about? As the response from the ASA seems to assume that I would be in the minority of thinking that they were implying he fought in WW2!!

I’d really like to know from the people who read this if you see an advert and someone in their 80’s or 90’s talks about ‘the war’ wouldn’t you assume he’d be talking about WW2 or even WW1 for that matter as it was often referred to as ‘the great war’.

Anyway here is the reply from the ASA in full:

Dear Mr Seibert


Thank you for contacting the Advertising Standards Authority.

We can intervene if an advertisement seems likely to be in breach of The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising by, among other things, misleading consumers to their detriment. In this case, having reviewed the ad in light of your complaint, we concluded that there were insufficient grounds for us to take action.

Our primary concern is whether consumers are likely to be misled in their actions as consumers. We have noted that the text in the ad states “Charlie. A true story” and that Charlie states that “I’ve done lots of things in my life, even won medal in the war…now I’m 83 and living in this rather nice Bupa care home…” In addition, the voiceover at the end of the ad states “We create a map of life for each of our residents, so that we can really get to know them…”

While we appreciate your concerns, we think that it is unlikely that the general audience would understand from this ad that the advertiser is implying that Charlie served in World War II, given that the ad includes no specific claims to this effect. Indeed, he may have served in the Korean war for example. Irrespective of this, we require advertiser’s to hold documentary evidence for the claims they make about their products and in this case, having assessed the matter, we do not have cause to believe that the advertiser is not providing the service they are promoting. We think that consumers will understand the message in the ad the advertiser gets to know the past of each individual who resides in a Bupa care home. As a result, we do not believe that this ad would be likely to mislead consumers to their detriment or that the advertiser is not providing the service they say they do for the reasons you have raised, and we shall be taking no further action on your complaint at this time.

Thank you for taking the time to contact us with your concerns. Our website http://www.asa.org.uk contains information about the work we do, including the results of our recent investigations into other complaints.

Yours sincerely

Now for something altogether more hilariously funny. Have you seen the stupid Bingo advert where they are pretending to be a magazine? The catch phrase for this advert I believe is ‘calling all Bingoheads’? I’m pretty sure the first time I saw that ad there wasn’t a tiny little warning at the beginning of it saying: ‘Not a real magazine’
Who in their right mind would get in touch with that Bingo website and ask where they could buy that magazine? Recently though I noticed the same disclaimer at the start of the advert. So somebody must have asked for the magazine or somebody complained that it was misleading because it didn’t say that it wasn’t a real magazine?

My all-time favourite un-pc Telly advert I saw years and years ago when Jasper Carrot still did the commercial breakdown:

There is this lovely, quaint Dutch family getting into a car, Mum, Dad with their two kids. They start their car journey, dad is driving, mum switches the radio on and soon the whole family is singing along to a song on the radio. It’s a song in English and it goes something like: I wanna f*** you in the Ass…
After the family repeated that Corus a few times the Ad finishes with something written in Dutch and in English it reads: Want to learn another language and it gives name phone number of a Dutch language school.

There is one company’s adverts though I loath & detest! Wonga.com

First of the ads with the old people is trying to give it some credibility and cool factor when it ought to have none of that. Secondly Wonga.com is a horrendous idea to begin with! The APR is atrocious it’s the 21st century version of a Loan Shark. Of course anyone can take out a Wonga.com loan, that is the whole point of it all. If people had an ok credit rating they’d go to a bank and get a loan there or get themselves a credit card with 0% interest for 6 months. No Wonga is targeting the people who have most of the time an abysmal credit rating, people who can’t get a loan through any other means and once they take the loan out they are screwed!

It is not just Wonga who do this sort of thing! Just look at some of these firms who tell you that you can get a car from them, but when you look at the APR you think are they mad?

Anyway I could go on and on, haven’t even gotten to ‘injury lawyers 4 you’ and the like. But I’ll spare you that for now!

This concludes my little rant about advertising.


Author: SillyDaddy

SAHD of twin boys, who just started year 1. Bring on the rollercoaster that is school life!

6 thoughts on “Tv adverts and their flaws

  1. Pingback: 12-03-12 Love Lifestyle Weekly Showcase | Love All Blogs

  2. Used to love that Jasper Carrot show – hilarious adverts across Europe. Agree about the old guy and his medal though, would absolutely think of the WW2.

  3. I found this post precisely because I thought exactly the same thing when I saw this ad tonight! I agree with you – “the” war surely means either the first or second world war? Other wars tend to be given a specific title like “the Korean war” or “the Gulf war”.

    Yes – I thought an old man saying he got a medal in the war meant the second world war. I wonder if BUPA are as misleading about their products as they are about their adverts?

  4. I actually asked BUPA about this (pedant as I am) and they replied. Turns out, when the old man (Charlie) says that he fought in “the War” and won a medal – he was talking about…wait for it…his experience in the 1948 Palestine War!

    The advert is misleading, certainly. When people talk about “the War”, or “Post-war Britain”, or “post-war austerity”, people in Britain think of WW2. This is because it was overwhelmingly larger in scale and in consequence than any war Britain has been involved in since. No-one would think the speaker was referring to the 1948 Palestinian War (most British people would be hard pressed even to name that conflict).

    So why did BUPA do it? Because mention winning a medal in “the war” and people think perhaps of a brave spitfire pilot saving the country in the Battle of Britain, or storming the beaches on D-Day, or risking their lives bringing through much needed food to a hungry country in the Battle of the Atlantic, against the threat of U-boats. Ultimately, they think of a man defending his country against the Fascists.

    This is much more evocative than anything brought to mind by the 1948 Palestinian conflict. That was the war, after all, in which Israel fought and defeated the Palestinians and its Arab neighbours to establish an Israel larger than the UN Mandate. Britain was not a principal actor, and withdrew under circumstances that still blacken our name in many Arab circles, leaving Israel to its victory. The bloody consequences of this war are ongoing to this day, 64 years later.

    Overall, much less of a good simple ‘story’ for the advert, hence its willfull disingenuousness in referring to the 1948 Palestinian War as “the War”, knowing that viewers at home would misunderstand.

  5. i telephoned the adverising complaints commision and was told they had dad a lot of complaints regarding this adert stating the same thing! Everyone who had ‘phoned and written assumed it was ww2! I actually found Bupas phone number inline and as usual it was press keypad numbers for different items you were enquiring about i did the usual trick of not pressing any key so i was put through to a real person and stated my case, since then i haven;t seen the advert on tv in my region at least. I would like to think i have played some part in having it taken off air ! At least in my region. In our local Bupa home in Saltcoats we have had Iraqi soldiers being treated by the nhs and a virus breaking out among residents in 2 different parts of the same home. May i point out that these patients were not together and the residents did not get the virus from the iraqi soldiers !

  6. I had an almost identical reply from the ASA – containing the same badly constructed sentence beginning “We think that customers…” Obviously a ‘stock answer’ because it did not answer some of my comments .
    I think they are very naive in stating that “we think that it is unlikely that the general audience would understand from this ad that the advertiser is implying that Charlie served in World War Two”
    The ASA obviously underestimates both the knowledge of history and maths
    capabilities of the ‘general audience’ judging from the number of comments I have
    seen about this ad across the Web.
    ‘The’ War is the Second World War, just like the ‘Great’ War refers to the the First World War. All other wars have had the location or some other identification in their ‘name’ eg. Crimean War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Six Day War and, even the Palestine War that Charlie supposedly won his medal in!
    No 83 year old living in this country would mean anything other than WW2 when referring to ‘The’ War. Good grief, we see enough programmes on TV about The War ,how could anyone not know?
    Charlie even refers to coming home to his wife – in 1948 he was only 20 and would have been doing his National Service for about two years by then.
    i think whoever was responsible for this ‘response’ by the ASA needs to have a few History lessons – because without them they are permitting Bupa to appropriate “The War” to have a meaning NOT shared by the ‘general audience’

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