The automotive segment is a competitive one -- we know that for certain. And it’s not uncommon for carmakers, in an effort to win over customers, to throw a little shade at their competitors.
But just remember, if you’re going to go this route, you should probably take pains to ensure your claim is accurate, or you could find yourself in the same type of embarrassing situation that Chevrolet has found itself in.
An ad that came out in early January claimed that Chevy vehicles were more reliable than those of Honda, Ford and Toyota. A market research company called Ipsos allegedly engineered the survey that supports this claim, but Toyota was quick to call the results into question. Some reporters have suggested that the survey’s construction was dubious and Chevy’s team extrapolated a reliability claim that the data didn’t necessarily support.
Using anecdotal evidence sort of goes hand-in-hand with Chevy’s “real people” ad campaigns where individuals heap praises on Chevy’s vehicles as if they have never before seen them.
When Toyota became aware of the reliability claims, it contacted Chevy. We don’t have any detail on the discussion, but it appears that Chevrolet has pulled the ads. In a statement to Jalopnik.com, Chevy didn’t say that the reason it pulled the ad was because Toyota challenged the claim, rather, that the company “regularly makes adjustments to its media strategy to support business needs, and it’s latest focus is on the launch of the all-new Silverado pickup truck. Chevy also stressed that the ad was not pulled because of any concerns with its accuracy.
Jalopnik pointed out that, i that were true, it seems odd that the ad was not only removed from the rotation but also taken down from Chevy’s YouTube channel. Maybe it was because Toyota wasn’t the only one to pile on: The Detroit News is reporting that Ford and Honda also challenged the ad’s claims, with a little help from their lawyers who demanded the ads be taken down immediately.