Toyota GB has come under fire from the advertising watchdog after 74 viewers complained that its ad for the Toyota Yaris Hybrid, encouraged dangerous driving.
Created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the ad, which ran across multiple platforms including TV and YouTube, featured Bruno Mars’ song Locked Out of Heaven, and showed different drivers and passengers singing and dancing along the track.
At one point a female driver appeared to have her eyes closed as she sang along.
Toyota defended the ad and told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that the car adhered to the speed limit and there were no shots of it travelling fast, competitively or in a daring manner.
The car marque said it tried to portray that both the driver and passengers in the car were having a good time whilst driving, as it wanted to “dispel the myth that drivers cannot have fun whilst driving safely”.
Toyota denied that the female driver had her eyes closed at any point.
ITV, which broadcast the TV version of the advert, said no viewers had complained to its Viewer Services, and YouTube, which ran the ad online, agreed.
Despite Toyota’s response the ASA said that while it didn’t think drivers and passangers singing along was irresponsible, it was “particularly” concerned that viewers would believe that the woman in the final scene of the ad had her eyes briefly closed and was not paying due attention to the road.
The ads must not appear again in their current form and Toyota was told to ensure its ads do not depict dangerous driving in future.