Deloitte Digital’s Suzuki ad banned for promoting dangerous driving

Suzuki’s ad urging consumers to have fun with their cars before the onslaught of driverless vehicles has been banned by the ad watchdog.

The campaign was created by Deloitte Digital.

The ad pushes the idea that drivers might as well have fun with their cars while they can – contrasting the joy of getting out on the road when you’re in control, compared to the bland, banal and controlled environment which awaits consumers in 2035 when all vehicles are driverless.

Complainants, however, felt the ad promoted dangerous driving, and said the ad implied responsible driving wasn’t fun.

The Ad Standards Community Panel had to consider whether the ad was in breach of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising.

That code requires auto advertisers not to promote unsafe driving, including reckless or menacing driving that would breach any Commonwealth law or the law of any State or Territory in which it is broadcast. In the event the ad shows off-road driving, the driving depicted must still be appropriate for on-road conditions.

Despite Suzuki arguing the advertisement was filmed under controlled, closed-road conditions, Ad Standards took issue with two moments in particular.

“The Panel considered that the depiction of the vehicle going over the large bump at a speed which caused its wheels to leave the road was a depiction which would constitute unsafe driving if it were to take place or a road or road related area,” Ad Standards said.

The moment the vehicle pulls up near a cliff edge was also problematic, the watchdog said.

“The Panel considered that the vehicle appears to be driving at speed, and noted that although it may be driving within applicable speed limits, it still appears to be driving faster than appropriate given the conditions. The Panel considered that the scene appears to show the vehicle turning near the edge of a cliff or large drop off.

“The Panel considered that this scene was fleeting and that it was not possible to tell how controlled the turn was. The Panel considered that the depiction of the turn performed towards the edge of a large drop off was one that most members of the community would consider to be reckless driving.”

The ad went to air on free-to-air television across all metropolitan markets excluding Brisbane, and all regional markets except those in Queensland. It also ran as a pre-roll ad on catch-up TV platforms and YouTube.

Suzuki has said it will modify the ad in response to the findings.


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