Another car ad falls foul of ad watchdog, with Ford in trouble for showing ‘reckless’ driving

Ford’s television commercial for its Ranger Raptor has been banned by the ad watchdog for its focus on speed acceleration, revving engine sounds and the scene which shows all four wheels leaving the ground.

Ad Standards said the ad features scenes which “would constitute unsafe driving” and used driving techniques which are “reckless”.

Complaints to Ad Standards said the type of driving in the ad is “very dangerous” and shouldn’t be allowed on TV.

“Certainly not an example to set depicting what appears to be ultra fast acceleration from inside a shed out on to dirt roads, jumping over rises and then going off road and ripping up ground surface by spinning wheels under power only encourages unsafe and destructive driving by others,” one complainant said.

Responding to the complaints, Ford said the ads were filmed in a testing circuit on a private property and no other vehicles or pedestrians are shown in the ad.

The advertiser also noted that the driver behind the wheel was a professional and safety engineers were on site at all times.

“The Ranger Raptor is depicted driving off-road for the duration of the Ranger Raptor TVC. Due to the loose nature of the surfaces it travels over, at times some terrain can be seen being displaced by the Ranger Raptor’s off-road tyres.

“Ford feels this is indicative of the off-road surface rather than any sort of dangerous driving (such as burn outs), and adds that this was a private testing facility with all driving approved by the owner of the land,” Ford said.

Despite the brand’s justifications, Ad Standards said the disclaimer used by the advertiser only appeared on screen for six seconds and there is no way viewers would know the ad was filmed in a testing area.

“The speed that the vehicle is seen travelling down the dirt road, dramatised by the sound of the engine and filming techniques, appeared reckless. The Panel considered the speed of the vehicle appeared unsafe when the vehicle became airborne,” the ad watchdog said upholding the complaint.

Ford said it had suspended all media for the campaign until it came up with a solution to the ruling and his since agreed to re-edit the ad to address the unsafe driving complaints.

Ford’s creative agency of record was WPP’s GTB, however, the car manufacturer recently shifted its account to BBDO.


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