A TOYOTA ad that “condones and encourages unsafe or irresponsible driving” was banned after a Green Party campaign.
People who saw the ad may have been under the impression that Toyota GR-Series vehicles “were capable of a performance based on speed and some degree of risk,” according to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The ad, which appeared in The Guardian and i newspapers in April and May 2022, showed an image of three cars driving close together on a country lane, with the caption “That GR Feeling”.
At the bottom it said: “Precise. Balanced. Playful. It’s that elusive combination that fuels the heartbreaking excitement of the Toyota GR Series. Pure performance cars born from Toyota Gazoo Racing. And now on a street near you.”
The Worthing Green Party was among those who complained, saying the ad “condoned and encouraged dangerous driving”.
Green Party leader Steve Carleysmith told The Argus: “As grandparents who take their grandchildren to school by bike, I felt it was totally inappropriate that the Toyota adverts used ‘racing cars’ for speed and excitement on ours streets boasts.
“The Worthing Green Party strongly supports making our roads safer and quieter for walkers and cyclists.”
Toyota defended the ad, arguing that people only read the “GR” in the headline phonetically as it refers to the vehicles’ model and not a snarling sound from a high-performance engine.
The company also said the phrase “that feeling” is commonly used in ads and refers to a sense of pleasure rather than driving fast.
It added that the cars should not have been construed as racing on a public road, and countered complaints that readers would see the words “frisky” and “heartbreaking excitement” as indicating irresponsible driving.
However, the ASA ruled that the poster could not appear in the same form, and Toyota was urged to ensure future advertisements did not “condone or encourage unsafe or irresponsible driving”.
In the decision, the ASA said: “We felt that the overall impression created by the ad was an indication that the high-performance nature of the GR Series vehicles meant that drivers of these vehicles could push the boundaries of safe and responsible driving and that this was the case was desirable and agreeable to do so.
“We have concluded that the ad thus condoned and encouraged unsafe or irresponsible driving.”
https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20760284.toyota-advert-banned-campaign-worthing-green-party/?ref=rss Toyota ad banned after Worthing Green Party campaign