ASA forces ‘disgusted of Tunbridge Wells’ to belt up

fidelityInvestment management firm Fidelity International has successfully swerved a ban from the ad watchdog, despite running a responsive ad in the Daily Telegraph which depicted a carefree driver seemingly speeding along without wearing a seat belt.
Telegraph readers are notorious for their moral outrage, earning the nickname “disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”, so it is perhaps surprising that the ad only triggered a single complaint. However, this still forced the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate.
In response, the finance company stated that the ad was intended to convey to prospective clients that an investment with Fidelity International might afford them the opportunity to enjoy life and make the most of the proceeds of their savings.
The image in the ad was selected for its sense of humour and the quality of life that it conveyed. The firm added that the driver in the ad was seen to be enjoying her drive in a classic convertible and it believed that helped readers to imagine a happy and comfortable life, which might include the option of driving a vehicle like that.
Fidelity went on to say that as it was a classic car, the driver did not to “clunk click every trip” anyway, and even if she was indeed wearing a belt it would have been a lap belt that would not be visible, due to the angle of the photograph.
The Telegraph cited similar reasoning why the ad did not depict illegal behaviour.
Dismissing the complaint, the ASA considered that the focus of the ad was on the investment products sold by Fidelity International, which were targeted at those considering their financial options for retirement, and the image only served as an aspirational portrayal of a carefree, post-retirement lifestyle.
The regulator reinforced the fact that there were no legal requirements for drivers of cars that were originally made without seat belts, to wear them or to have them fitted retrospectively, and gave Fidelity the green light to continue running the campaign.

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