Three UK carmakers have had their advertising campaigns banned for encouraging unsafe driving.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today (24 Oct) ruled against Ford, Fiat and Nissan.
The Ford ad, shown in cinemas and on YouTube, featured a voice-over which stated: “Do not go gentle into that goodnight. Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage. Rage against the dying of the light” – while showing typical office frustrations such as a jammed photocopier and spilt coffee.
A total of 12 viewers complained that the ad showed driving as a way of releasing anger.
Ford told the ASA that the word ‘rage’ was not used to convey anger or aggression, but passion and enthusiasm – adding the ads did not show any scenes of road rage.
However, the ASA said the ad depicted characters releasing their anger while driving and that the voice-over reinforced that ‘by encouraging motorists to drive in an aggressive manner’.
The Nissan TV ad showed a car braking after a pedestrian stepped in front of it. Nissan said the purpose was to demonstrate the car’s ‘intelligent technology and safety features’.
The carmaker added that the driver in the ad was ‘at all times driving within the applicable speed limits’.
A complaint challenged whether the ad encouraged dangerous driving by exaggerating the benefit of the vehicle’s safety features and condoned irresponsible driving by showing the car being driven at excessive speeds.
The ASA ruled in the complainant’s favour – saying that the ad ‘implied the character had increased the speed of the vehicle because they were in a rush’.
The Fiat ad, featured on YouTube, showed cars driving on a track which the carmaker said was ‘designed to emulate the Hot Wheels children’s toy cars game’.
Fiat added the ad was not targeted at UK consumers and was ‘fantastical in nature’.
The complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it portrayed cars being driven at high speeds and racing, and condoned or encouraged unsafe or irresponsible driving.
Again, the ASA ruled in favour of the complainant, saying the ad had been served to UK consumers and the association with Hot Wheels ‘would not be immediately obvious to or understood by many consumers’.
The ASA added that the ad ‘portrayed the cars racing and being driven in a manner that condoned or encouraged unsafe or irresponsible driving’.