ITC suspends Direct Line commercial by Mortimer Whittaker

The Institute of Insurance Brokers is claiming a first-round victory in its battle against a Direct Line motor insurance commercial following the Independent Television Commission’s decision to suspend the ad.

The Institute of Insurance Brokers is claiming a first-round

victory in its battle against a Direct Line motor insurance commercial

following the Independent Television Commission’s decision to suspend

the ad.



The ITC has banned the ad from further showings until investigations

into more than 30 complaints - all from the insurance industry or

interested parties - are complete.



The execution in question, created by Mortimer Whittaker O’Sullivan,

claims customers could save 15 per cent if they switch to Direct

Line.



Andrew Paddick, the IIB director, claimed the advertisement was not only

inaccurate but also disparaging about the role of independent insurance

brokers.



A spokesperson for the ITC said: ’We do not often suspend an ad because

we do not often need to investigate complaints further.’ She added that

the Direct Line commercial had finished its first run by the time it was

suspended.



Direct Line responded by saying that the suspension of the ad was not

significant and was simply part of a normal investigation by the

ITC.



Miranda Seymour, a Direct Line spokesperson, said: ’We are disappointed

to see people commenting on the investigation as it is supposed to be

confidential. The ITC has not yet come to any conclusions.’



She added: ’The initial six-week burst of the ad concluded two weeks

ago, as planned, and we are confident that, again as planned, it will be

back on air in 1998.’



Direct Line also caused controversy in August when it secured an

injunction to halt the publication of the Advertising Standards

Authority’s monthly report because it was appealing against an upheld

complaint.