Monday, July 27, 2009

It's important to know your product well...surely ASDA missed this point this time last week.

ASDA, Walmart's arm in the UK, felt it was in the forefront to score a PR coup when it went trumpeting the arrival of "Britain's cheapest bike" in its stores. For £70, customers could walk away with a brand new adult's mountain bike. A total bargain! ASDA might have though how could this go wrong!

However they did not consider everything. Although the price was surely a killer, not everything was perfect. They did not take care of all details and someone actually noticed this. The offer actually turned into a PR disaster, when late last week the supermarket was forced to pull a TV advert, which was created by Fallon London, for the bicycles after viewers noticed they had been built so badly that they were dangerous.

The Problem Bike - British Eagle Verona Model

Mark Brown, director of the Association of Cycle Traders, was the one who noticed the mistake. Actually the the front forks of the men's bike in the advert faced the wrong way. The meant that the bicycle would not steer correctly and the brakes would not work properly, thus representing a health hazard for the users. The ASDA bikes come in parts, meaning customers have to attach the pedals, front wheel, handlebars and saddle themselves.

Brown commented on the advert on the Guardian Website and said that "Not even ASDA know how to set up their own bikes. This is indicative of the problems which arise from what we in the bike industry call 'flat-pack bikes'. However, unlike flat-pack furniture this could seriously damage your health."

ASDA spokesperson admitted the mistake and said that "As soon as we spotted the error, we put the brakes on the TV ad and pulled it". ASDA is working on a new ad which will replace the problematic one and this will be launched in the coming weeks. Hopefully this time they leave the bike's assembly in expert hands!

ASDA in the meantime thanked thousands of customers that have already bought one one these bikes and who have managed to correctly follow the instructions on how to assemble the bike, better than ASDA."

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