The above Toyota advert featuring the new GR Yaris (and a Celica, briefly) may look tame, but not everyone saw it that way. Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau has stepped in following one or more complaints that claim “the commercial promotes speeding and may influence people to speed which is very dangerous”.
Specifically, the 30-second video supposedly fell foul of two parts of the Federal Chamber for Automotive Industries Motor Vehicle Advertising Code: ‘unsafe driving’ and ‘breaking the speed limit’.
In response, Toyota insisted it merely wanted “to show the Yaris’s versatility across a range of Australian road types”. The company added, “Toyota takes the opinion of the complainant very seriously. However, it is our belief that the Advertisement does not contravene the FCAI Code or the applicable laws and regulations that govern community roads and driving standards.”
Following a review, the ASB decided that the advert did not contravene the ‘breaking the speed limit’ part of the rules, but it did promote ‘unsafe driving’ due to that brief bit of dusty wheelspin. “The Panel considered that the action of losing traction in the rear of the vehicle would be considered to be a loss of control of the vehicle,” the report says.
As a result, Toyota cannot show the advert in its current form and has “taken steps” to edit it, which presumably involved removing the offending powerslide.
Stringent car advertising rules aren’t exclusive to Australia, it’s worth pointing out. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority frequently swings the ban hammer over here, sometimes after only a single complaint.
After a Ford Mustang advert was brought to its attention a couple of years ago via 12 complaints, the ASA deemed it to be showing “driving as a way of relieving anger,” and even took issue with the use of the Dylan Thomas poem ‘Do not go gentle into that goodnight’.