AA's biggest campaign launch ad banned by ASA

A TV ad which launched the AA's biggest marketing campaign in a decade has been banned after the breakdown service's rival complained about claims made in the spot.

Adam & Eve/DDB created the ad, which broke on TV in June 2015 and demonstrated an array of strange call-outs the AA had made in its 110 years.

The 60-second ad showed dramatisations of real call-outs, including helping a nudist who lost his keys and removing a broken Nazi tank from a battle re-enactment.

The voiceover in the ad said that the AA has more specialist skills than anyone else, but the RAC complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that this claim could not be substantiated and was misleading.

The RAC also complained that the AA’s web site included the claim "With more expertise than anyone else, we’ve seen it all before".

When contacted by the ASA, the AA said the claim meant it had more or better trained technicians that were provided in-house. The AA added that its competitors either did not provide those same services or contracted them out.

But in its ruling, published today, the ASA upheld the complaint because the basis of the AA’s comparison was not specified when making the claim about more specialist skills in the TV ad. 

Because the TV ad had focused on unusual circumstances, such as a key being replaced and a tank being towed away, the ASA said "it would be understood to mean that those were examples of the range of cases in which the AA had more expertise".

The ads standards watchdog also rejected supporting research the AA had provided to back up the claims because the ASA "did not have the methodology involved in those surveys" and " they did not span the entire range of competitors."

The ASA ruled that the TV and the claim made on its web site must not appear again in their current form.

The ad was Adam & Eve/DDB’s first campaign for the AA since the creative account was moved from VCCP without a pitch in May 2014.