Terms and conditions do not apply

Any marketer will have anecdotes about a great piece of creative design ruined by acres of legal or regulatory small print slapped on top of it.

Tesco Car Insurance Advert left hand advert
Tesco Car Insurance Advert right hand advert


Tesco has been quite clever about this and designed a car insurance campaign around customers having their own terms and conditions. It’s a simple, neat idea and will appeal to anyone who has felt unfairly caught out by sneaky terms and conditions.

For marketers, T&Cs are a tricky one. It can feel like a carefully crafted advert has been completely ruined by caveats being stuck all over it. Apple’s early iPhone ads had to be changed as the ASA felt that the ads misled people intimately thinking the phone runs more quickly then it actually does. These now carry notes advising that sequences have been shortened and some apps only work in specific conditions.

It’s not uncommon to see adverts with more small print than copy, as in this advert from Virgin Media.

Virgin Media print advert
Virgin Media print advert

These are obviously for the company’s protection: if an advert becomes a financial or reputational risk, it is worse than useless, and may cost the firm.

The difference is when T&Cs become unnecessary, confusing or downright illegible. The terms and conditions are so dense that its unlikely anyone will read them. Laughably they end with the line “Further Legal Stuff applies”. So anything goes then…

By flipping it on its head, Tesco has used this occasional source of irritation to imply a level of customer control, which in reality is probably no different to other insurers. Nevertheless its a breath of fresh air compared to the dense blocks of 6pt legalese we’ve become used to.


1 Comment

  1. Nice post Sam. Kronenbourg 1664 recently had to pull their advert which had claimed something about it being made in the sleepy town in France when really it’s brewed in a factory in Manchester.

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