An advertising campaign which set out to share the message that no-one should have to pay for other people’s bad driving, has itself been pulled for encouraging ‘dangerous and irresponsible driving’.
The Aviva advert, launched in January, features ex-F1 driver David Coulthard disguised as a rogue taxi driver, who bewilders his unwitting passengers with an array of appalling driving behaviour, including distracted driving.
The passengers are shocked as the driver demands payment for the hair-raising ride, before revealing his real identity.
When launching the campaign, Peter Markey, Aviva’s brand and marketing communications director, said: “Sadly there are still too many incidents which happen because people get into bad habits or they get distracted while driving, so we want to send out this message loud and clear – that everyone can play their part in making our roads safer, by just taking that extra care.”
However, after receiving 58 complaints from members of the public, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled the advert ‘must not appear again in its current form’. The ASA also told Aviva that its advertising ‘must not encourage dangerous and irresponsible driving’.
In its ruling, the ASA said: “The manner in which the car was driven was extremely reckless and given it was performed in a regular vehicle and on public roads whilst showing other vehicles to be in motion, were scenes that could potentially be emulated by viewers, putting themselves and others at a significant risk of danger by driving hazardously and in an irresponsible manner.
“Because of that, we considered that the ad had featured reckless driving behaviour on public roads and therefore concluded that the ad encouraged dangerous and irresponsible driving.”
Defending the advert, Aviva said it believed that the over the top, stylised driving and prominent warnings, all ‘contributed to the narrative that the driving behaviour depicted in the ads was being discouraged and condemned’.