Tourism NT discontinues ad after Ad Standards road safety ruling

Tourism NT has discontinued an online advertisement after Ad Standards ruled it depicted a breach of Australian Road Rules and the AANA Code of Ethics.

Ad Standards received complaints about the advertisement, which featured a still image of a woman leading out the passenger-side window of a vehicle looking backwards.

The original post was accompanied by the text ‘Travel off-the-beaten-track Sponsored by Tourism NT’.

The ad breached road safety standards and the AANA Code of Ethics

Complaints about the ad pointed out that it is an offence in all Australian jurisdictions for drivers or passengers to have their arms outside of vehicles, windows or doors while in motion.

One complaint linked to a quote from NRMA road safety expert Dimitra Vlahomitros, who, when speaking to Yahoo News, said: “Drivers and passengers need to apply common sense – it’s not only illegal but downright dangerous, and that’s because you could risk losing a limb.

“We know that kids mimic our behaviour, which is why it’s so important to make sure we’re modelling the right road safety behaviours.”

In Tourism NT’s initial response, the advertiser denied the ad contravened the code of ethics because the image was shot under “closed conditions” and “the car is obviously stationary” due to the position of the photographer.

“As clearly indicated by the car and photographers position the passenger of the car is in a stationary vehicle so not “Driving or Travelling” therefore even if the scene was not in a closed and staged environment, which it is, no law would have been broken under normal road conditions in any case,” Tourism NT said.

The image in question remains on the Tourism NT website

In its determination, a minority of the Ad Standards Community Panel agreed that the vehicle may have been stationary, evidenced by the women’s hair being still.

However, the majority of the panel noted that whether the vehicle was stationary or not mattered little, because the impression to most viewers is that the vehicle is moving, especially considering the vehicle is positioned in the middle of the roadway, not off to the side.

As such, a majority of the panel agreed that the depiction in the ad is both against the law and community standards, as well as Section 2.6 of the code, and as such the panel upheld the initial complaint.

In response to the determination, Tourism NT discontinued the advertisement, though Mumbrella notes the image still appears in sponsored articles and on the Tourism NT website.


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