A U.K. TV commercial for car insurer Swiftcover.com featuring Iggy Pop has been criticized by the advertising regulator after it emerged that musicians could not get insurance with the company.
However, Swiftcover.com has pre-empted a ban by announcing that it has accepted complaints about the advert and will now insure musicians.
A ruling not to screen the "Get a life!" commercial again in its current form was made by the U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority. The commercial extolled the benefits of online insurance over printed policy statements in the mail, showing the punk-rock icon playing golf and saying he had "more interesting things to do" than hunt down insurance documents.
However, 12 viewers challenged whether it was misleading to suggest Iggy Pop had insurance with the advertisers, because the Swiftcover.com Web site stated that those who worked in the entertainment industry were not eligible for a car insurance policy with the company, owned by AXA U.K.
In its initial response to the ASA, Swiftcover.com claimed that the key message was the timesaving advantage of their online service, adding that it made no reference to Iggy Pop's profession and had chosen him "because of his reputation for living life to the full and not because of his profession." The company added that the entertainment industry was commonly excluded by non-specialist car insurers.
But the ASA upheld the complaint in its ruling today (April 29). The ruling noted that Iggy Pop stated "I got it Swiftcovered. I got insurance on my insurance!" in the commercial, and considered that "some viewers might interpret that to mean Iggy Pop held a policy with Swiftcover and that their insurance cover did extend to musicians and those who worked in the entertainment industry. However, we noted that Iggy Pop did not have a policy with Swiftcover."
"Because the policy was promoted by a well-known musician, which might lead some viewers to believe the policy covered those who worked in entertainment, when it did not, and because Iggy Pop did not have a policy with Swiftcover, we concluded the ad was misleading," the ASA ruling stated.
Swiftcover.com issued a statement confirming that it will now insure musicians. It added that the commercial had helped increase sales by more than 31% in the first three months of 2009 compared to the same period last year. Visits to the Swiftcover.com Web site soared in the period, too, the statement said.
"Many musicians contacted swiftcover.com after seeing Iggy in our ads and we appreciate that they were disappointed that we were not able to offer them insurance then," said marketing director Tina Shortle in a statement. "We are delighted that musicians can now also get 'Swiftcovered.'"