Advertising, at its core, involves some kind of deception. It’s the marketing team’s sleight-of-hand—the innate ability to turn mediocre into extraordinary when you’re not looking. Think back to the last time you saw a commercial for a new pickup truck or crossover. The commercial likely featured breath-taking vistas, treacherous off-road tracking shots, and otherwise unlikely scenarios—at least for the majority of consumers. Chevy’s “Real People” ads aren’t new; however, consumer advocates are criticizing the company’s latest commercial—and for a good reason.
The new ad dubiously cites a study that claims Chevrolet has a more reliable lineup than several competitors. Chevy makes bold claims in the ad, citing the study from Ipsos, a Paris-based market research company. The Detroit automaker claims Chevy is more reliable than Ford, Honda, Toyota, and 23 other brands. Except the study involved 2015-model-year vehicles that were in service from December 2014 to June 2015, according to Automotive News.
While the information from the study is accurate, much of Chevy’s lineup has changed— the ad featured the Chevrolet Equinox, Traverse, Malibu, and Silverado. All four have gone through major redesigns since 2015.
Consumer World, the Massachusetts consumer advocacy group, wants Chevy to pull the ad; however, the automaker is standing by its commercial and “will continue to run the ad,” according to AN. The problem Consumer World has with the ad is Chevrolet is promoting new vehicles alongside data from older, out-of-production models, which is misleading.
There are other issues, too. The Ipsos study surveyed some 48,700 owners on parts replaced or repaired over the last 12 month, which did not include things such as fluids, filters, or accidents. Compare that small sample size and data to Consumer Reports, which has 500,000 vehicle responses spanning from the 2000 to the 2018 model year. The larger data set allows CR to explain better which automaker has better reliability.