It’s rare to hear any engine noise on a car advert in the UK, so to have a 5.2-litre V10 wailing amidst all the crap about pay day loans and esoteric perfume commercials was very welcome indeed. It was all thanks to Audi’s ‘The Eye’ advert, featuring the second-generation R8, but sadly, it’s just been banned. Why? Because one person complained to the Advertising Standards Authority.
As we explained before when Honda’s ‘Keep Up’ advert was banned, the amount of complaints doesn’t really matter: if something which breaches the strict ‘Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice Code’ is brought to the ASA’s attention, it gets the ban hammer out. And in the case of ‘The Eye’, the ASA upheld a complaint that alleged the advert “linked speed with excitement”.
In the ASA’s ruling, the organisation stated:
“Audi said they disagreed that the ad linked speed with excitement or that it was irresponsible. They said the ad was not about speed and was carefully shot (with cars travelling at speeds of less than 30 mph) and edited to avoid giving any impression of speed. Consequently, if the ad had shown excitement, it would not be linked with speed. However, Audi said the ad did not show excitement, as the dilating and contracting pupil denoted concentration and focus, which was a documented scientific phenomenon.”
The ASA disagreed with VW Group/Audi’s response, stating that: “The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility) and 20.3 (Rules for motoring advertisements),” the problem being that “several upward changes of gear could be heard and we considered that, without clear visual context…it was likely to be interpreted by viewers as quick acceleration.”
As a result, all that lovely V10 noise - packaged up in a slick, clever advert - has been removed from our screens. So, a hearty “thanks bro” goes out to nannying advertising regulations, and whoever had enough time on their hands to complain about an advert that really wasn’t irresponsible.