Car ads banned for encouraging unsafe driving

12.33 | 24 October 2018 | | 2 comments

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’.



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    I think some car purchasers are essentially buying an image to reinforce what they perceive their status to be and the manufacturers brief to the ad agencies reflects this. Whether the car is actually any better than the cheaper, less prestigious brand is probably secondary so some purchasers.

    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I should think so to. Those within the advertising should be taken to book if they are found to be encouraging dangerous practises to members of the public.

    I personally would like to see You tube remove some outdated ‘Advanced Riding’ videos that are well past there sell by date and are still encouraging overtakes and off siding which are no o longer in the Police Roadcraft Manual for prospective Advanced Riders. Will they do this no they wont.

    Its no wonder that we still have a high mortality rate amongst motorcycle on our roads if ordinary folk are encouraged to perform dangerous practises or procedures.

    Agree (1) | Disagree (0)

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