New Zealand Law Society - ‘Monster vehicle’ WoF scenario didn’t mislead consumers

‘Monster vehicle’ WoF scenario didn’t mislead consumers

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has rejected a complaint about a TV ad for VTNZ that featured a ‘monster’ vehicle with a harpoon and flame thrower being put through its WoF.   

The VTNZ advertisement showed a fictional character, Mr Road Commander, taking his Mad Max-style car in to get a Warrant of Fitness. The employee says: “Well your tread’s great, but this flame thrower is a little bit of a no-no and the harpoon is not compliant either.”

Mr Road Commander removes the vehicle accessories while the assessor says: “We did put some new blades on.” Mr Road Commander appears excited until he realises she means wiper blades. The vehicle is given a pass and ends with the owner conveying this outcome to “Gary” who is chained up on the back of the vehicle.

Two complainants were concerned a non-compliant vehicle was given a pass by the VTNZ Officer which could give customers a misleading impression about what could pass a WoF inspection.

One said: “The TV ad has a monster vehicle with harpoons and guns attached. The VTNZ officer has these removed and then says your good to go. I presume this means it will now obtain a WOF. I think not. The rear wheels have no guards and the front scoop is dangerous. Would miss on these two counts alone. Not "good to go" at all. A bit too cute? I get VTNZ handle WOF, but this ad gives the impression everything else on the car is compliant, when it not.”

VTNZ said Mr Road Commander is a fictional, embellished character who required a vehicle certification and was never intended as a real-life example of how to pass a WoF.

The ASA’s complaints board agreed that given the fantastical nature of the advertisement, consumers were unlikely to be misled as to the level of compliance required for a vehicle to pass a WoF. It said the technical detail provided by the advertiser was sufficient substantiation to show the advertisement was not misleading even when interpreted in the most literal sense. Accordingly, the complaints board ruled the complaint was not upheld.

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