Land Rover has been caught between a rock and a hard place as its latest ad depicting three Defenders parking on a cliff edge has been forced off air. It’s after two viewers pointed out that the Defender’s rear parking sensors are not capable of detecting cliff edges, precipices or bottomless chasms of any kind, leading the ad to being banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).
The stunt, which you can see here, is a high budget production showing a Defender manoeuvring into a space on the edge of a steep cliff. Shots of its rear parking camera helping the driver get into position are spliced with the sounds of beeping parking sensors as the car comes closer to the edge.
Land Rover has jumped to the Defender’s well… defence, stating that the parking sensors are in fact reacting to the presence of boulders on the rocky terrain. The ASA decided the boulders weren’t prominent enough to suggest they were setting off the parking sensors and the ad gave the false impression that the Defender is able to warn of a cliff edge.
Let’s be honest, the boulders were small, but the reality is it would be hard to miss the vast void behind your car – anyone relying on parking sensors to tell them that should perhaps think twice before driving at all.
Car ad guidelines are incredibly stringent – Honda’s ‘Keep Up’ ad was banned when it was ruled that the fast moving subtitles encouraged speeding. There’s also the time one complaint resulted in the ban of this Audi R8 ad because it linked speed with excitement. This incredibly tame Australian ad for the Toyota Yaris was also banned because it apparently promoted unsafe driving.
The banned Defender ad is somewhat reminiscent of one of the most iconic ads of all time for the original Defender, which sees one turn off the tarmac to scale an incredibly steep dam. It does make you wonder, how many people tried that after seeing the ad?