Volvo ad avoids ASA ruling after complaints it “exaggerated the performance” of the Volvo XC60

Volvo Car UK has avoided a ban from the Advertising Standards Authority after listeners complained a radio ad exaggerated the performance of its new Volvo XC60 model.

Produced in the style of a news report the advert featured a voice-over which stated: "Half an inch of snow fell over the UK last night, putting the country in a state of emergency. In Sweden two feet of snow has fallen. Reports are everyone is ... fine."

A different voice continued, "Snow doesn't stop Sweden. In an all-wheel drive Volvo XC60 it won't stop you, either. The Volvo XC60 all-wheel drive, from £397 per month including winter pack, three years' servicing, maintenance and Volvo roadside assistance."

Seven complainants said that they felt the advert implied the car could be driven through two feet of snow.

Volvo Car UK Ltd responded through the Radio Advertising Clearance Centre (RACC). They stated that no standard car or all-wheel-drive sports utility vehicle could drive through two feet of snow, but that the ad did not claim that the Volvo XC60 could do so.

The car manufacturer said the idea of the ad was to send a “tongue-in-cheek” message that hat Sweden could cope with adverse weather but the UK could not, and that the Volvo XC60, coming from Sweden, was designed for snowy conditions.

The ASA said it was satisfied that “given the light-hearted tone of the ad” listeners were unlikely to interpret the comparison between the ability of the UK's and Sweden's respective road networks to cope with different levels of snowfall as “an objective statement about the Volvo XC60's performance in two feet of snow.”

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