The Advertising Standards Authority has banned ads from Ford, Nissan and Abarth for encouraging unsafe or irresponsible driving.
Twelve people complained to the watchdog about a spot for Ford, shown in cinemas and on YouTube, that featured the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night read over shots of people experiencing moments of frustration, before a Mustang is shown driving out of a car park into the street.
The ad was one of the last to be created by Ford’s dedicated WPP shop, Global Team Blue, before it lost the creative business to BBDO earlier this month.
Ford told the ASA that the spot featured no scenes of road rage and that the car was not shown driving faster than 15mph.
However, the watchdog said it suggested that driving was a way of releasing anger, which put the driver, other motorists and pedestrians at risk – and, as a result, it encouraged unsafe driving and breached the CAP Code on motoring.
Ads for Nissan and Abarth, meanwhile, were banned after a single complaint each. Nissan’s TV spot, created by TBWA\London, depicts a couple driving to the airport in a rush. When a pedestrian appears in the street, the car quickly stops, while the text "Intelligent emergency braking" appears on screen.
The ASA ruled that the spot encouraged dangerous and irresponsible driving because it both exaggerated the benefit of the vehicle’s safety features and showed the car being driven at excessive speeds. This echoed an almost identical decision in August on a Volkswagen ad from Adam & Eve/DDB.
The YouTube film for Abarth – owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – shows four models racing through a series of elevated roads with features such as steep inclines, tilts, spirals and rollercoaster-like bumps.
FCA said it had been inspired by Hot Wheels children’s toys and the ad was intended to be fantastical in nature, and so did not encourage irresponsible driving.
However, the watchdog said the Hot Wheels reference would not be immediately obvious to all viewers and the roads depicted were not as far from reality as the company suggested. It again ruled that the ad condoned irresponsible driving that could be emulated, therefore breaching the CAP Code.
The ASA said that all three ads should not appear again in their current forms.