Ad Standards Board rules against ad for depiction of woman texting and driving

A TV ad for law firm AICS has been ruled against by the Ad Standards Board for depicting unsafe and illegal driving practices, such as texting while driving.

The spot sees a female presenter ask if your life has been turned upside down because of someone else’s negligence as another image features a woman texting while driving. An on screen disclaimer says, “Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. This was filmed under controlled conditions.”

A similar version of the complained ad, this one does not include a disclaimer.

A complaint against the ad argued it was footage of an illegal event and produced in an unsafe manner.

“Under NSW legislation it is an offence to use a mobile phone whilst driving, and this ad clearly shows the female driver doing so, because there is no evidence of a controlled environment used for filming. Therefore this advertisement is actual footage of an illegal event. I believe this commercial was produced in an unsafe manner, and demonstrates an actual event that has occurred in an illegal manner, and should not be played on television.”

AICS defended the spot, arguing it purposely included the disclaimer “Texting while driving is dangerous and illegal. This was filmed under controlled conditions” to ensure “people are aware driver distraction offences being of a dangerous nature”.

While the board noted the on-screen disclaimer in its ruling, it was the view of the majority of the board the depiction of the woman texting and driving “normalises dangerous and illegal driving behaviour for commercial gain rather than community awareness”.

The board upheld the complaint.

In response to the ruling AICS said: “The result is disappointing, however, we will remove the ad from air as requested”.


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