Yet another car advertisement has fallen afoul of Ad Standards Australia for displaying what a handful of complainants said was “dangerous”, “destructive” and “reckless” driving.
This time it’s Ford that has copped a slap from the advertising watchdog for its Ranger Raptor ad, which shows the pumped-up all-terrain truck in its natural habitat – off road.
But while most viewers would see the promotion as a reasonable representation of the Raptor’s capability in a controlled environment, Ad Standards says it encourages irresponsible driving and has killed the campaign.
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Despite Ford’s disclaimer which confirms the ad was filmed using professional drivers in a safe environment, the complaints adjudicator said that wasn’t enough.
“The speed that the vehicle is seen travelling down the dirt road, dramatised by the sound of the engine and filming techniques, appeared reckless,” said Ad Standards. “The panel considered the speed of the vehicle appeared unsafe when the vehicle became airborne”.
As it stands, the agency has the authority to cancel any advertising material including TVCs following just one complaint from a consumer, if it feels the advert is in breach of the code regulating motoring advertisements.
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In the case of the Raptor ad, one watcher labelled it “very dangerous” and said it “encourages unsafe and destructive driving by others”.
Ad Standards has a consistent history of banning car adverts despite the manufacturer going to lengths to demonstrate due diligence and actively discouraging irresponsible driving.
Just last month, Volkswagen was forced to discontinue its advert for the Amarok in which it overtly used models and graphics and even deleted its own sensitive shots to deliberately show that its stunts and enthusiastic driving never actually occurred in the physical realm.
Before that, a Bentley ad was pulled for showing speeding even though the Continental GT was filmed on unlimited-speed roads and was piloted by a professional racing driver.
In 2016 Audi had to reconsider its R8 advert which included just seconds of driving - all of which was filmed at speeds below 48km/h.