‘Irresponsible’ TV Ad Gets Parked

A TV and video-on-demand advert for used car selling service Motorway has been kicked into touch by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for being ‘irresponsible’ in the way it condoned competitive and unsafe driving.

The TV ad, seen during August and September 2021, featured a house and a car on the back of a trailer and several cars driving on the road behind it. The cars were numbered and had prices above them. As they drove on the road, the cars crossed lanes, overtook each other and two drivers were shown smiling and looking happy as they did so. The ad ended with one of the drivers jumping out of the moving car and into the trailer to unhook the house from the trailer.

The ASA received various complaints, criticising the ads for condoning and encouraging driving behaviour that was dangerous.  The complaints were upheld and the ad has been banned.

In its verdict, the ASA noted that ‘the scene was set on a motorway with ordinary cars and drivers which would be recognisable to viewers as a real-life setting. The cars were shown engaging in some level of competition to get ahead by sharply overtaking each other and weaving in and out of lanes. We considered the driving manoeuvres featured would be dangerous and irresponsible if emulated in real life on a public highway. The drivers were shown smiling, laughing and pleased about overtaking the other cars in that manner, which we considered condoned the competitive style of driving depicted.’

The ASA said: “The CAP and BCAP Codes stated that ads must not condone or encourage irresponsible driving.  Because we considered the driving depicted in the ads condoned competitive and unsafe driving, we concluded the ads were irresponsible.”

The ad has been re-edited and cleared for broadcast.