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Car Adverts

The rules on car adverts say that:


Advertisements must not condone or encourage dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving or motorcycling.

There's an advert for the Toyota GR Supra I've seen on here (and elsewhere) that shows it being driven at speed and performing a power slide / drift. So I complained about it to the ASA.

This is the response I got:


Your complaint

You objected that the ad was irresponsible because it showed a car being driven in a dangerous manner by showing the car being driven at a high speed and performing a drift. 


Our rules

Advertising should contain nothing that is likely to be deemed irresponsible.  We base our decisions on the content of the ad, when and where it appears, the audience and the type of product or service.  When assessing complaints in this area, difficult subjective judgements are often required and we aim to strike a balance between allowing an advertiser a platform for their product while ensuring the high standards of the advertising rules are met.


The ASA Council’s decision

Council considered that the ad was highly stylised and not representative of real driving conditions. While Council noted that the car appeared to be going at a high speed relative to the parked cars around it, and that the driving manoeuvre featured would be dangerous and irresponsible if performed on a public highway, given the overall tone and context of the scenes depicted, it was clear that the ad did not portray a real-life driving situation. Council considered that viewers would not take the ad literally or be encouraged to imitate the actions shown. Council therefore concluded that the ad did not condone or encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving behaviour. 


Action taken

We have made the advertiser aware of the issues that were brought to our attention in case they wish to take on-board the information provided when creating their ads in the future.

Although we won’t take further action this time, we will keep a record of your complaint for reference in our future assessments.  We will also take your complaint into account in our regular, proactive ‘intelligence gathering’ sweeps, where we analyse a range of information – including complaints made to us – to report on issues, even when they have not broken the advertising rules, that have caused concern.

We hope this helps to explain our decision, and thank you once again for contacting us. 

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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quiff | 3 years ago
1 like

Strictly speaking I think you've quoted the rules for broadcast ads. I think the rules for non-broadcast (including internet based) ads are slightly different, though the principles are similar. There is a rule that manufacturers avail themselves of; I can't tell if it applies to this ad: 

"Vehicles' capabilities may be demonstrated on a track or circuit if it is obviously not in use as a public highway."

That's why manufacturers often use a track or even a fantasy world (e.g. I recall an Inception-inspired ad where the roads rearranged themselves) in ads to avoid any suggestion of condoning dangerous on road driving. 

Fundamentally they are trying to sell a car whose attraction is performance, so they will have to push the rules to do so. I'm not saying it's right.     

Sriracha replied to quiff | 3 years ago

I think there should also be a rule against ads showing cars on empty, traffic-free roads. If there are no other cars on the road there has to be a reason for it, which must apply equally to the car being advertised - ZiLs excepted. The cars ads should not be allowed to imply that their products are not part of and subject to the menace of vehicular congestion.

quiff replied to Sriracha | 3 years ago

Yes, I guess that's another form of "fantasy" advert!

Tom_77 replied to quiff | 3 years ago

Thanks, I'd assumed the rules for internet ads were the same as TV. Looks like the rules for internet ads aren't quite as strict.

I don't agree that it was clear that the Toyota ad "did not portray a real-life driving situation", I thought it looked a lot like the top floor of a multi-storey carpark. Although I'd accept that such judgements are fairly subjective.


Tom_77 | 3 years ago

Screenshot for context.

Sriracha replied to Tom_77 | 3 years ago

So they agree that it depicts dangerous driving, but argue that it does not encourage the same because nobody would be so simple as to be encouraged by such a depiction. Which is a sort of self-supporting circular argument.

Even if one let's that ride, they have ignored the bit about condoning the dangerous driving depicted. Yet by the very fact that the manufacturer subscribes to the depiction in the advert they must be condoning it.

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