A fleet of ‘racy’ car adverts from top companies Ford, Fiat and Nissan have been banned following a string of complaints that the clips promoted dangerous driving.
The YouTube ads were deemed to encourage “irresponsible” driving by the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), and ordered to be taken down.
Fiat’s impressive ad featured four of its latest models racing along a spiralling, tilting and intertwining track between high rise buildings before one car whizzed through an underwater tunnel with a glass roof, faster than the large boat above it.
The ad received one complaint to the ASA which challenged whether the clips were irresponsible and condoned unsafe or irresponsible driving.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK Ltd said they did not think the ad fell into the ASA’s remit because it was produced and uploaded onto YouTube, outside of the UK.
Representatives at the firm said the track was designed to be reminiscent of Hot Wheels and other children’s car games, with Helter Skelter and roller coaster-like sections.
They insisted the voice-over slogans, which stated, ‘your childhood hobbies are back’ and ‘let’s play again,’ were intended to promote inventiveness and creativity rather than any competitiveness.
But the ASA ruled that the ad had an overall impression of speed and was “clearly centred on a race between the four cars” that were seen driving fast and in an aggressive manner, accompanied by sounds of revving, loud engines and screeching tyres.
A TV advert for Nissan, shown in May, was also banned by the ASA who warned the company not to encourage dangerous driving by exaggerating the benefits of the vehicle’s safety features.
In the video, a car was seen driving down the motorway when one passenger checked their watch, where a sign above the car stated “AIRPORT DENSE TRAFFIC”.
The car veered into the left-hand lane before taking a sharp turn into an airport and stopped as a man appeared in front of the car.
Onscreen text then stated “Intelligent Emergency Braking” before the car continued on its journey and a voice over said: “when you have the right technologies, you will always find a way.”
Two ads for Ford motors seen on YouTube and at the cinema in July were taken down following 12 complaints that accused the footage of encouraging unsafe driving because they depicted driving as a way of relieving anger.
The cinema ad included a poem in the voice-over that stated ‘do not go gentle into that goodnight’ and ‘rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
Scenes showed people reacting to difficult situations on their commute, in meetings and performing office tasks.
Text then appeared against a black screen which read “DON’T GO QUIETLY” followed by scenes of a car being driven out of a car park.
Ford Motor Company Ltd said the advert’s intention was to contrast the everyday frustrations of work life with the freedom of driving a new Ford Mustang.
But the ASA noted people’s expressions of discontent and anxiety in the footage and considered all scenes to depict people in stressful circumstances while brief shots of the Mustang being driven were shown.
An ASA spokesman said: ” The ads must not appear again in their current form.
“We told Ford Motor Company Ltd that their advertising must not encourage unsafe driving, including by depicting driving as a way of relieving anger.
“We told Fiat Chrysler Automobiles UK Ltd that speed must not be the focus of future ads, and to ensure they did not portray driving behaviour, including racing, that condoned or encouraged motorists to drive irresponsibly.
“We told Nissan not to encourage dangerous driving by exaggeration of its safety features or depict driving at excessive speeds which could encourage irresponsible or dangerous driving.”