Bike industry wants ‘damaging’ insurance ad pulled from TV

The motorcycle industry is calling for insurance ads featuring a biker injured in a crash to be withdrawn from TV.

The Motorcycle Industry Association says the Aviva ads, shown during the ITV’s period drama Downton Abbey, are damaging its efforts to get more people into biking.

The 10-second ads, referred to as ‘idents’, dramatise the real-life story an Aviva customer who lost his job following a bike crash.

Around 10million people saw the first instalments shown on September 18, which began with the rider disappearing around a sweeping bend followed by the sounds of a crash. The story is due to continue over further episodes. 

In an email to members, MCIA chief executive Steve Kenward said: ‘Naturally the industry is extremely concerned by the negative portrayal of motorcycling, particularly at a time when so much work and progress is being made convincing new riders to come into the market.’

He said the MCI had ‘sought legal advice as to any position that the industry may have that might balance the damage caused’ and ‘spoken directly to the CEO of Aviva, advising of the industry’s position and requesting a withdrawal of the adverts’.
But Aviva said the ads would continue.

A spokeswoman for the insurer said: ‘The focus of the campaign is not about motorcycling, but the first series of idents cover the story of Gary, an Aviva income protection customer...

‘As Gary’s story builds in the coming weeks, viewers will see the positive outcome of his experience. We worked very closely with Gary to ensure that his case was handled as sensitively as possible.’

Read more in MCN, on sale September 28.

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Steve Farrell

By Steve Farrell