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AA rapped over ads claim

2nd September 1999
Page 13
Page 13, 2nd September 1999 — AA rapped over ads claim
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

1 The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against the AA (Automobile Association) after a national advertising campaign implied that rival recovery operators used "unknown garages" whose mechanics would give up and "tow vehicles after just 30 minutes".

Competitor Europ Assistance lodged the complaint claiming its contractors are rot only "approved" but instructed to "do their utmost to get vehicles safely on their way". ironically, many of the contractors used by AA competitors are also used by the AA.

Martin Oakley, head of marketing for Europ Assistance, says: "These adverts are not only unfairly damaging to the image of AA's competitors, but they are fundamentally wrong and misleading to the consumer."

In response to the ASA's decision, an AA spokesman says: "We are sorry that Europ Assistance felt this advertisement and its claim referred to them specifically—it did not and it was not intended to." He did not comment on which companies the advert had meant to refer to but confirms that the AA will amend the advert to take into account the concerns of the ASP and Europ Assistance.

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