Green Flag ‘flipping car fudging goes kaput’ ad cleared following complaints

Green Flag

A television advert for Green Flag breakdown cover featuring a stream of allusions to swear words has been cleared by the regulator following complaints that it was offensive.

A voiceover to the ad, showing people involved in various car breakdown scenarios, stated: “When you break down, your first words probably aren’t Green Flag.

But maybe they should be your second, because if your flipping car fudging goes kaput, we’ll rescue you anywhere in the country, and you can track our truck all the chuffing way with our app…”

It went on: “So whatever your first words, let’s make your last ones, ‘Thank truck I went with Green Flag’.”

The ad was approved by clearance agency Clearcast without a scheduling restriction.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received 46 complaints from viewers that the ad was offensive and scheduled inappropriately, as it was broadcast throughout the day when children could be watching.

Green Flag said the ad was meant to parody recognised frustrations from breaking down, which could sometimes result in the use of “colourful” language.

The ad did not use any explicit language and the words “flipping”, “fudging”, “chuffing” and “truck” were all clearly enunciated to ensure they sounded distinct from any expletive, the firm added.

Clearcast accepted that euphemistic language might be understood by adults as stand-ins for offensive words but they believed these were words which parents would prefer their children to use instead of the expletives they replaced.

Clearing the ad, the ASA said: “We recognised that some listeners might find the wordplay distasteful but we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

“We understood that no scheduling restriction or advice had been applied to the ad at the time it was cleared by Clearcast, which we considered was appropriate for its content.

We concluded the ad had been scheduled appropriately.”

A Green Flag spokeswoman said: “All of our adverts go through our own internal review process, extensive consumer research and are signed off by Clearcast to ensure they are suitable for the audiences intended and meet all relevant guidelines.”