Jeep ad encouraged 'unsafe driving practices' finds ASA
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned an advert by Fiat for its Jeep Cherokee for encouraging unsafe driving practices in bad weather.
The radio ad by ARC UK drew in six complaints from listeners who felt it irresponsibly portrayed driving in poor conditions as fun.
The advert featured a mock weather forecast that stated: "Overnight snow has brought severe disruption to much of the country. The Met Office has warned drivers ...". The volume was then turned down before the sentence was completed and a voice-over stated, "Time to play".
The sound of a car was heard being unlocked remotely with wind blowing in the background and snow crunching under foot. As the car started, an electronic voice said "Snow mode activated". The voice-over then stated, "Make winter your favourite sport with Jeep. This season, get the new Jeep Cherokee".
Fiat UK said the "Time to play" in the voice-over alluded to the fact that the Jeep was ideal for winter conditions, which would enable the driver to travel more easily to winter activities.
Fiat continued that it believed the Met Office warning at the beginning of the ad provided a "background imagery of a snow affected country" in which the Jeep was designed to operate in safely in Snow Mode. The car marque added the ad did not make a reference to dangerous driving conditions.
However the ASA felt that given the context, the words "Time to play" would be understood as a reference to the fun that could be derived from driving in the potentially dangerous conditions, The watchdog said this was further suggested by the voice-over stating "Make winter your favourite sport".
The ad must not appear again in its current form. The ASA told Jeep to avoid using content that could be understood to encourage dangerous driving.