Photo: Jaguar Land Rover
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has warned Jaguar Land Rover that their future advertising must not encourage drivers to carry out tasks that are likely to distract their attention from the road, after rebuking a previous advertorial for encouraging unsafe driving practices.
In a ruling announced today (8 March), the ASA branded the advertorial article, about the then new Jaguar XE model, as ‘irresponsible’.
Published in the Guardian on 24 September 2016, the advertorial described drivers using in-built smart technology to check calendars and use other apps while on the road.
In the ruling, which followed two complaints to the watchdog, the ASA also confirmed the ad must not appear again in its current form.
Jaguar Land Rover issued the following statement in response to the ruling: "We acknowledge the ruling by the Advertising Standards Authority. We were disappointed that the ASA did not find the safety message in the campaign was prominent enough.
"For all of the connected car technologies we offer our customers, we will always offer only what is safe to do whilst driving. The hands-free technology in the Jaguar XE has been developed and tested to allow users to put their phone safely and legally away, and to focus on the driving experience."
In its assessment of the advert, the ASA accepted that driving while using a hands-free mobile phone kit was not, of itself, illegal. However, it noted that the Highway Code states that using hands-free equipment was likely to distract drivers’ attention from the road.
The ASA said: “Whilst we understood that the work related activities and communicating with family could be carried out in the car via hands-free technology, we considered that they were likely to distract a driver’s attention from the road and therefore preventing them from having full control of the vehicle.
“Therefore, we concluded that the advertorial was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices.”
The ASA also criticised the headline claim ‘drive time is no longer downtime’, explaining that it ‘considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks whilst driving’.