In 2014, four Jaguar car adverts were banned for glorifying high speeds and encouraging dangerous driving.
Three years later, and Jaguar’s made the same mistake, except this time it wasn’t the car manufacturer’s TV adverts that were to blame — it was one of their advertorial articles.
The promotion appeared in the pages of the Guardian last September, explaining how the new Jaguar car’s hands-free technology allows drivers to listen to music, “organise” their next meeting and “stay in touch with colleagues and family on the move”.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK’s advertising regulator, said that promotional material for the new Jaguar XE was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage “unsafe driving practices”.
The advertorial featured the headline claim that ‘drive time is no longer downtime’,” the ASA said in its judgement today. “We considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks while driving.”
Verdict takes a look back at some of the other adverts which have come under fire for encouraging so-called dangerous practices.
1. Too much can tapping from Heinz
In November last year, the ASA ruled that a TV advert for Heinz baked beans encouraged the “unsafe practice” of drumming on cans.
The commercial, which used the strapline “Learn the #CanSong”, featured children, teenagers and adults dancing while using Heinz Beanz tins to tap out the rhythm of beat.
“Given the manoeuvres required, it might still be possible that mistakes could be made with an empty can, which might include a hand or fingers being inserted into an open tin, with the associated risk of cuts,” the ASA said at the time.
2. Don’t trust Jackson the Muppet
Mobile network Three’s Muppet-themed advert was banned in May last year after rival network EE, the UK’s largest mobile phone provider, complained that it misled consumers.
In the ad, “Jackson the Muppet” wearing boxing gloves, triumphantly lifts his arms in the air next to the claim that Three is the “undisputed” market leader for reliability.
3 Things That Will Change the World Today
— EE (@EE) 5 November 2015
The ASA said the wording of “undisputed” wrongly suggested there was an agreed and objective measure of reliability.
“Because we understood that there were no commonly agreed objective measures of network reliability against which 3 UK had undisputedly scored higher than their competitors, we concluded that the claim ‘the undisputed’ as used in the context of the ad was likely to mislead,” said the regulator.
3. Driving too fast isn’t exciting
A TV ad for the Audi R8 was banned in August for equating speed with excitement. The commercial showed an eyeball contracting and dilating as the supercar accelerated through its gears.
“We considered that viewers would interpret the changes in pupil size as an emotional response to the movement of the car, as represented by the sounds that were audible during the eye sequence,” the ASA said in its ruling at the time.
Audi’s parent company, the German-based Volkswagen Group, disputed the allegations saying that the advert was shot at speeds below 30mph, and the dilating pupil denoted focus rather than excitement.
4. Too sexy
Earlier this week, the ASA banned a trio of adverts for Black Cow vodka, a milk-based version of the spirit for associating alcohol with sex and encouraging excessive drinking.
The ads featured a man and woman walking slowly across a field in Dorset.
The watchdog said viewers were “likely to understand from the combination of the couple’s body language, the depression in the grass, and the overall tone of the ad, that they had just had sex.”
5. Discount supermarket advert doesn’t add up
Budget supermarket Aldi had three of its adverts banned by the ASA in June last year for claiming a £70 shop at one of its stores would cost £98 at any of the “big four” supermarkets.
Morrisons, the fourth largest UK supermarket, and two members of the public complained that the adverts did not make it clear Aldi’s own-brand products were being compared with branded products.
At the time, Aldi’s UK and Ireland chief executive Matthew Barnes said he was “extremely disappointed” with the “ambiguous and inconsistent” decision.
The use of comparative advertising is a well-established principle and is firmly in the interests of consumers and encourages competition between retailers,” he added.
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