The Minister for Road Safety has taken the unusual step of complaining
to the Advertising Standards Authority about an ad that appears to
The press work, created by TBWA for the Virgin Interactive videogame,
Screamer 2, shows an 18-year-old joyrider saying: ‘Speed’s the buzz.
Smash anything that gets in your way.’
Now the minister, John Bowis, has complained directly to the ASA’s
chairman, Lord Rodgers of Quarry Bank, in a letter. He said that the
campaign was irresponsible and glamorised the crime. ‘I am appalled that
advertising of this nature is permitted,’ he wrote.
TBWA’s account director on the business, Simon Hunter, said that the
agency pulled the ad two-and-a-half weeks ago after press coverage of a
hit-and-run accident supposedly committed by a joyrider. Poster and
radio work was also intended to be part of a pounds 250,000 push.
But Hunter confirmed that the offending ad was still running in monthly
magazines that had already gone to press before the accident.
Hunter added: ‘We don’t want to condone joyriding and we pulled the ad
as soon as we could. We wouldn’t have run it at all had there been
negative press coverage about the issue at the time we created it. We’d
rather the minister had spoken to us or the client first although, of
course, he’s within his rights to complain to the ASA. ’
Caroline Crawford, director of communications at the ASA, said: ‘We’ll
treat the complaint in exactly the same way as any other.’