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January 21, 2019

Chevy Pulls Misleading “More Reliable” Commercials

Filed under: Autos,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:01 am

In a surprise move late last week, General Motors abruptly pulled its national television advertising campaign in which it claimed that “Chevy is more reliable than Toyota, Honda, and Ford” and 23 other car brands.



Hidden in the fine print was a disclaimer that said their reliability claims were based on data for 2015 vehicles. The problem was that Chevy was advertising their redesigned 2019 cars and trying to convince viewers that current models were equally superior in reliability based on four-year-old data.

We did a national press release on January 10th calling on the company to yank their misleading ad campaign. Of course, up against a big powerful consumer organization like Consumer World, a company like General Motors didn’t have much choice. So it pulled the national ad. Or maybe, just maybe, it might have been the threat from Toyota’s lawyer that tipped the scales.

Not surprisingly, in a bit of all-too-common corporate posturing, Chevrolet denied any wrongdoing. In a statement to Consumer World, their spokesperson said:

“Chevrolet stands by the reliability claim and the ad remains in the brand’s toolbox but we have decided to take it out of the regular rotation at this time to launch new Silverado creative. We have not altered our marketing campaign because of any concerns with the accuracy of our ad content.”

NOTE: The regional version of the ads (they have a financial incentive at the end) will take longer for GM to stop.

Wouldn’t it be refreshing for once for a company to take responsibility for trying to mislead customers?

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10 Comments

  1. “Toolbox?” Legally trained corporate shills can only come up with the latest, annoying cliche’? “Out of regular rotation?” Yeah, you’re benched for this quarter, but keep your cleats on. And bear in mind, we haven’t made any “alterations” to the lineup. More lawyerly snake oil carefully worded to avoid admitting doing anything wrong.

    Comment by Marty — January 21, 2019 @ 7:50 am
  2. I saw this commercial play just yesterday, 1/20/19, while streaming a program via the A&E app.

    Edgar replies: GM said that it would take longer to remove the local/regional versions of the ad.

    Comment by Bill Hsomething — January 21, 2019 @ 9:32 am
  3. So they are still being dishonest by deflection and inference. Seems the same strategy they used in the commercial. Well, at least it’s not out there attracting those who trust anything the see on TV. Well done, Edgar!! (And minor kudos to Toyota)

    Comment by BobF — January 21, 2019 @ 9:41 am
  4. If a company had enough integrity to take responsibility for misleading ads they probably would not have put up the ad in the first place.

    Comment by Daniel Currie — January 21, 2019 @ 10:35 am
  5. The ad played several times during the AFC and NFC football games on 1/20/19 in my area.

    Comment by Richard Sullivan — January 21, 2019 @ 11:11 am
  6. The entire campaign is predicated on deception and misleading the public. It’s the only way they can sell their products, no different from Budweiser. They’ve been called out for staging the “actors'” reactions. When you have a terrible product, you have to lie to sell it, and the old adage holds true, the quality of a product generally has an inverse relationship with the amount of marketing used to sell it. The gratingly annoying “spokesperson” doesn’t help. He’s worse than Flo and the Verizon guy

    Comment by David B — January 21, 2019 @ 12:54 pm
  7. Hello! Just an FYI Chevy has not pulled the ad, I have been seeing the commercial air in almost every local channel as late as 5:45pm today in NBC affiliate channel 6 in Orlando.

    Edgar replies: Chevy said it will take longer to pull the local version of the ads. You can tell the local version because it ends with a specific monetary offer of dealer incentives.

    Comment by Indy — January 21, 2019 @ 5:57 pm
  8. I really didn’t find the commercial all that bad. You can’t do a reliable quality survey on brand new cars and honestly even 3 years doesn’t feel like that long of a horizon. It would be nice if there were more studies backing up theirs (although having the JD Power study noted in the previous article should also count for something). I would prefer better disclosure, but I don’t think it needs to be pulled.

    Also, I’m not going to pretend that my story is going to match every Chevy owner, but I’ve driven 3 Chevy vehicles over the last 15 years and have had 0 mechanical repairs.

    I compare this to MSNBC’s recent campaign where they promoted being the top cable news network for a week* in December. It was their first time doing so in 18 years.

    * The “week” was only Monday-Friday as FOX News won the full 7 day week.

    Comment by Joe — January 21, 2019 @ 9:47 pm
  9. I’ve seen this commercial 5 times this week AFTER reading this article, including 10 minutes ago!

    Comment by Kara H — January 24, 2019 @ 11:16 am
  10. I do not believe a thing any company claims in an advertisement. I mute all commercials if I have to watch anything live. When I record I talk into my remote “Fast Forward three minutes”

    Comment by jef — January 27, 2019 @ 8:34 am

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