The ad, "the art of villainy" created by Spark44 London, featured Hiddleston talking about the common attributes of good villains as he drove a Jaguar F-Type car through an underground car park and onto the streets.
One complainant, who believed the ad featured and encouraged unsafe driving practices, asked the Advertising Standards Authority to consider whether the ad was socially irresponsible.
In its defence, Jaguar Land Rover said that although there was a brief revving of the car’s engine when Hiddleston’s character mentioned talking like a villain, for most of the ad the car was stationary in an underground car park.
Moreover, Jaguar Land Rover said although the car accelerated briefly towards the end of the ad, the police were present during filming and the car did not break the speed limit.
The ASA ruled that the noise of the acceleration appeared to suggest significant speed within an enclosed environment as the car passed up the car park ramp, and that the phrase "now brace yourselves" also suggested significant speed.
Despite an on screen text warning about obeying speed limits the ASA decided that the overall impression viewers would take from the ad is of the car driving at speed on a public road with other cars present.
The ASA found the ad encouraged irresponsible driving and so breached the CAP Code. It must not appear again in its current form.
The watchdog warned Jaguar Land Rover not to portray speed or driving behaviour that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly in future.
Today’s warning comes less than a month after a similar reprimand, when the ASA banned a series of ads for making speed the focus and encouraging motorists to drive irresponsibly.
First published on Campaignlive.co.uk