April 30, 2009

“I am the passenger,” claims James Newell Osterberg Jr. repeatedly in his 1977 hit song “The Passenger.” But Osterberg‚ better known as wizened trouser-python wrangler Iggy Pop‚ appears to be firmly in the driving seat chez Swiftcover. Not only does he flog their wares on TV (boosting their sales by a third), he’s now directing underwriting policy too.

Readers will be sure to chortle when they learn that just minutes after complaints against its Pop-fronted ad campaign were upheld by the ASA this Wednesday, the insurer decided that maybe musicians weren’t such a bad risk after all. And what’s a couple of extra claims compared with losing such a successful front man?

Spokesperson Tina Shortle announced proudly that “we are now one of the few insurers that actually insures musicians.” You Tube fans who enjoyed Pop’s recent performance of “In the Death Car” (see lyrics below) will be relieved to hear Shortle assert that “Pop will return to continue Swiftcover’s campaign to help UK motorists get cheap online insurance and make it clear that now even musicians can Get a Life!’”

It didn’t take long for the ASA to conclude that viewers might find the ads misleading. “I got it Swiftcovered,” Pop claims in them. “I got insurance on my insurance.” Not unreasonably, the ASA felt that some viewers might interpret this as meaning that Mr Pop held a policy with Swiftcover. Whereas, the Authority noted severely “Iggy Pop did not have a policy with Swiftcover.”

Swiftcover now hopes to get its ads back on air, which leaves only the question of whether buying motor insurance can fairly be equated with getting a life.

More careful copywriting could have avoided the problem in the first place. Had Mr Pop merely suggested that UK nationals might care to get Swiftcovered‚ rather than asserting (falsely) that he had done so himself, he might have slipped through the net like fellow “entertainer” Michael Winner.

To see previous Bankstone News coverage of this story click here.

Lyrics

A bowling wind is whistling in the night,
my dog is growling in the dark
Something’s pulling me outside,
to ride around in circles
I know that you have got the time
cause anything I want, you do
You’ll take a ride through the strangers
who don’t understand how to feel

In the death car, we’re alive,
in the death car, we’re alive

I’ll let some air come in the window,
kind of wakes me up a little
I don’t turn on the radio
cause they play shut, like… you know
When your hand was down on my duck,
it felt quite amazing
And now that, that is all over,
all we’ve got is the silence

In the death car, we’re alive,
in the death car, we’re alive
So come on mandolins, play


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