A complaint was raised regarding an advertisement for Converse Footwear, which appeared as a banner in a YouTube video in August 2018. The advertisement depicted a student taking an exam, with his legs crossed in a manner which showed answers written on his shoe. Accompanying text said: “ALL THE STORIES ARE TRUE“, and the advertisement description stated: “Converse does not condone cheating but the stories are true“. The complaint alleged that the advertisement was irresponsible and encouraged academic misconduct.
Converse responded that the advertisement was one in a series of advertisements making up a campaign that told stories about people who had worn Chuck Taylor trainers. They argued that the advertisement promoted truth and honesty, since it stated: “Converse does not condone cheating but the stories are true“.
The ASA investigated the advertisement and found that it was not in breach of relevant CAP Code rules pertaining to irresponsible advertising and condoning violence or anti-social behaviour. The ASA considered that audiences were likely to see the advertisement as lighthearted and, whilst they might not understand the intention behind the text “Converse does not condone cheating but the stories are true“, it nevertheless reinforced the message that cheating was not acceptable.