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Pacific Retail Finance Claims Victory

Pacific Retail Finance Claims Victory For Choice In Advertising Standards Authority Decision

Pacific Retail Finance is claiming a victory for car buyers with the dismissal of a complaint against one of its television advertisements, featuring an offer for vehicle financing and a parody of a car salesman.

The 30-second tvc, which has been on air for more than 18 months, features comedian Jeremy Elwood looking to purchase a car. The tvc poses the question “When you’re buying a new car, how do you know the price or the finance deal is fair?” and suggests that viewers don’t ask a car salesman. Instead, they should give PRF a call to sort out their finance.

The tvc explains that PRF offers an estimated market value and history check free, and then viewers will “have the freedom to buy where you want”. While this commentary is being made, the price on the car window winds back to a supposed true market position. Elwood makes the parting comment “nice shoes” to the bemused car salesman, who is kitted out in white shoes and plaid trousers.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) this week released its decision not to uphold a complaint by the Motor Trade Association against the PRF tvc. The ASA ruling says the PRF ad is “robust” but does not reach the threshold to be classed as denigrating competitors. It further says the tvc’s portrayal of the car salesman is an “obvious parody” and that it is “commonsense that a seller would not give a potential buyer an unbiased opinion or information when endeavouring to secure a sale”.


Mike Frederickson, PRF Head of Marketing, says the ASA decision is a triumph for car buyers seeking freedom of choice. “The PRF service is about offering an alternative to the vehicle financing offered on car sales lots,” Frederickson says. “This gives an independent option to car buyers, rather than tying them to the type of financing typically offered by the car dealer. Basically we’ve challenged the car dealer industry by suggesting people shop around for their finance, and we’ve been vindicated,” he says

The MTA had submitted that PRF’s tvc contravened a number of Code of Ethics and Code for Comparative Advertising regulations and that it “denigrated… car dealers offering financial arrangements and/or loans to their customers when purchasing motor vehicles”. The MTA also believed the ad “perpetuated the myth that car dealers were “swindlers” in the dress and behaviour of the generic car dealer portrayed.”

The ASA dismissed the complaint on all grounds. The full text of the ASA decision on the PRF tvc was released by the ASA, Monday November 29.

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