Simon MacMichael May 17 2017
The product was developed by Albedo100, with Volvo partnering with its fellow Swedish company in 2015 to distribute it through dealerships and bike shops in the UK.
However, a video for LifePaint that appeared to show it being sprayed on a bike frame as well as onto clothing and a cycle helmet was found to be misleading, since a different product had been used to achieve the effect.
The video carried a disclaimer stating that the frame had been coated with a different substance designed specifically for metal surfaces, but the ASA said that Volvo had not made that sufficiently clear.
The advertising watchdog, which has ruled that the “ad exaggerated the performance of LifePaint and was misleading” and that it “must not appear again in its current form,” had received two complaints about the video.
One of the people who contacted it told the cycle trade website, BikeBiz: “There have been instances where Volvo’s dealer network has encouraged schools to show the video.
“Pupils viewing the film have not been given the explanatory text and have been given a false impression of the product and the brand behind it.”
In its ruling, the ASA said that it “considered that the average consumer would expect LifePaint to be able to produce a similar effect to that seen in the ads.
“The video gave equal prominence to the frames of the bicycles as it did to the clothing of the riders, and showed the product being sprayed on a bike frame, so we considered consumers would expect the product to work on both surface types.”
The ASA added that “we did not consider that the disclaimer was sufficiently prominent because it was presented separately from the video, further down the page.
“However, even if the disclaimer had been presented with the video, we considered that the video itself was still misleading because we considered the prominence it gave to bicycle frames being sprayed with and covered in reflective paint suggested that the product would work equally on both surface types.”
According to BikeBiz, the original complaint alleged that “The purpose of the campaign was not to sell Volvo Life Paint as an end in itself.
“Instead the campaign had the primary aim of putting the Volvo brand in the public eye and to create the impression that the company was concerned with road safety and cycling safety specifically.
“The campaign was designed to draw attention to Volvo’s new XC90 car, which is built with added safety features.”