The joy police are out in force again and this time they’re targeting an ‘offensive’ advert for the brilliant Vauxhall Astra VXR. The Advertising Standards Agency deemed a commercial for the car “socially irresponsible” following a single complaint by a member of the public. One complaint. From one joyless individual.
The advert in question shows a pair of stationary Vauxhall Astra VXRs in an empty warehouse alongside the words “Shorten straights. Straighten Corners.” The complainant, for reasons known only to themselves, suggested the poster encouraged speeding and dangerous driving.
General Motors, Vauxhall’s parent company, obviously defended the ad, reminding the ASA that the bottom of the ad also had the caption “Vauxhall does not condone irresponsible driving,” and reminded those concerned that the cars were deliberately shown stationary to avoid any suggestion the cars should be driven in an unruly manner.
GM says it intended to highlight the VXR’s general driving dynamics and the fact its adaptive Flex-Ride suspension and HiPer Strut front suspension makes it more comfortable over straight roads and safer when cornering.
“GM said they were sorry to learn that the complainant had interpreted the ad in the way described,” acknowledged the ASA. “They were a risk-averse company and it was not their intention to condone any form of anti-social behaviour. In their opinion there was nothing in the ad which could be associated with speed or dangerous driving.”
Despite this acknowledgement, the ASA upheld the complaint on the basis that the public would interpret “shorten straights” to mean the car was able to travel quickly in a straight line.
“We therefore considered that, by making speed the main message, the ad breached the [CAP advertising] Code and condoned irresponsible driving.”
The advert has therefore been banned in its current form.
Do you agree with the ASA? Should the Corsa VXR’s “torque of the devil” advert be banned for encouraging devil worship? Let us know in the comments below.
Via: Marketing Week