Holden Heist ad taken off air because of dangerous turn

Ad Standards has ordered an ad for Holden’s range of sports utility vehicles be taken off air to remove scenes of unsafe driving.

The Hollywood heist-style ad shows the Equinox making a fast, backwards 180-degree turn to evade motorcyclists in a shipping yard, a move that attracted the attention of the complainant.

The ad is part of a wider campaign for Holden’s SUV range, which told the story of a group  stealing an artwork from a country house and using various Holden SUVs to evade their pursuers.

One complainant to the ASB said: “In my opinion it would qualify for a loss of licence under the current hoon laws and the vehicle impounded. Quite an inappropriate ad in today’s climate of road safety.”

Ad Standards rules say car ads cannot show unsafe or reckless driving practices.

In its response, Holden stated that the driving techniques used were meant to reflect a Hollywood action film and were not meant to be copied by consumers.

“The driving scenes deliberately leverage cliché, Hollywood environments and actions to help our audience quickly understand that this Advertisement is designed to look like a movie trailer, rather than a depiction of real life events,” the response said.

“The advertisement was at all times filmed under controlled conditions by trained and experienced professionals. There was no unaccounted-for traffic, or any other potential obstacle present at any point during filming.”

In coming to a decision the Panel noted that the 180 degree turn would be illegal on a road.

It also noted during that scene the ad featured the disclaimer “Filmed under controlled conditions. Expert driver used” for three seconds, however this does not justify the inclusion of material that does not comply with the Ad Standards Code.

Subsequently, the panel ruled that the ad was in breach of the Code and that Holden would have to remove the scenes of the 180 degree turn from the ad .

In Holden’s response it stated: “This scene appears in a wide range of Holden’s TV and online advertising and as such we will update the advertisement to create an updated version where the 180-degree turn is removed. We are working urgently through a plan with our broadcast partners to remove the current version of this advertisement from all environments including TV, online and social media.”

The offending scene in the standalone Equinox ad also appears 35 seconds into 60 second brand ad.

In October 2018, Ad Standards upheld a complaint about a Volkswagen ad that featured real and animated scenes of its Amarok model overtaking a road train on a dirt road.


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