'Exaggerated and misleading' Volvo LifePaint advert banned

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An ad for Volvo's LifePaint, designed to increase cyclist visibility in the dark, has been banned for exaggerating its effect.

The campaign seen on YouTube and the carmaker's website showed several cyclists in an urban environment applying LifePaint to their bikes, clothes and safety gear before cycling in the dark with the sprayed areas glowing.

A viewer who did not believe the product could result in the effects shown complained that the ads were misleading.

Volvo's website describes LifePaint as a unique water-based reflective safety spray that is invisible by daylight but glows brightly in the direct glare of car headlights.

Volvo told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that manufacturer Albedo100 also produced an oil-based spray designed for metal surfaces, and it was this product which had been used on the bicycle frames in the video.

However, the company said LifePaint could also be used to produce the same effect, although it would not last as long, so the oil-based spray was more suitable.

Upholding the complaint, the ASA said the average consumer would expect LifePaint to be able to produce a similar effect to that seen in the ads.

It said the prominence given in the video to bicycle frames being sprayed with reflective paint suggested the product would work equally on both metal and textile surface types.

The ASA said: "We therefore concluded that the ad exaggerated the performance of LifePaint and was misleading."

It ruled the ad must not appear again in its current form.

A Volvo spokeswoman said: "We note and accept today's ruling by the ASA regarding the initial promotion of Volvo LifePaint.

"This ruling concerns a video posted online in March 2015 designed to promote the launch of LifePaint, not the product itself, which the ASA does not dispute.

"While all further, post-launch communications around LifePaint haven't featured the offending scenes, we have accepted the ASA's decision and apologise for any confusion caused."