Two TV ads for Land Rover were seen in February 2022:
a. The first showed several Land Rovers driving in difficult terrain on an island. The ad ended with a Land Rover reverse parking on the edge of a cliff, using the vehicle’s parking sensor to guide them.
b. The second was a shortened version of ad (a), but featured the same scene of the Land Rover parking on the edge of a cliff.
IssueTwo viewers, who understood that parking sensors warned of objects behind the vehicle but not empty space, challenged whether the ads were misleading about what the parking sensor could provide.
ResponseJaguar Land Rover Ltd agreed that parking sensors would not warn of empty space behind the vehicle. They believed, however, that the side shots of the vehicle clearly showed that it was reversing towards a boulder, the size and height of which would have been picked up by the parking sensors.Clearcast said they had advised that all sequences shown needed to be accurate demonstrations of how the vehicle and the features worked. They noted that rocks were shown behind the vehicle and that the technology alerted the driver to them.
The ASA considered viewers would recognise that some of the scenes in the ads showed the vehicles driving in extreme off-road conditions, such as through waterfalls and across sand dunes, but that other scenes were more reminiscent of driving in towns and cities, and included features such as roads, traffic lights, a roundabout, a car wash and a parking sign. We also noted the tag line was “wherever you find yourself”. Therefore, while the ads showed the vehicles using their features and manoeuvring in extreme conditions, we considered viewers would see them as illustrating how the vehicles would perform in all environments, including everyday settings.
We considered the ads focused on the reversing feature and included a scene with an in-car camera view. The camera was shown in “on-road” mode and the sensor beeped as the vehicle approached the edge of the cliff over which the car would fall if the brakes were not applied. Although some small rocks were visible as the vehicle reversed, they appeared to be incidental to the scene and we considered it was not obvious that the parking sensor was reacting to the rocks rather than the edge of the cliff. We considered some viewers would therefore interpret that to mean that the car’s parking sensors could recognise when drivers might be reversing near a drop, which might include a smaller hill edge or a drop before water found in “on-road” areas, both in urban and more rural settings.
Because we understood the car’s parking sensors reacted to objects behind the vehicle, rather than to empty space such as a drop, and the rocks were not sufficiently prominent to counter that interpretation, we concluded that the ads misleadingly represented the parking sensor feature.
The ads breached BCAP Code rules
The standards objectives, insofar as they relate to advertising, include:
a) that persons under the age of 18 are protected;
b) that material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or lead to disorder is not included in television and radio services;
c) that the proper degree of responsibility is exercised with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes;
d) that generally accepted standards are applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from inclusion in such services of offensive and harmful material;
e) that the inclusion of advertising which may be misleading, harmful or offensive in television and radio services is prevented;
f) that the international obligations of the United Kingdom with respect to advertising included in television and radio services are complied with [in particular in respect of television those obligations set out in Articles 3b, 3e,10, 14, 15, 19, 20 and 22 of Directive 89/552/EEC (the Audi Visual Media Services Directive)];
g) that there is no use of techniques which exploit the possibility of conveying a message to viewers or listeners, or of otherwise influencing their minds, without their being aware, or fully aware, of what has occurred"
Section 319(2). (Misleading advertising) and 20.5 20.5 Motoring advertisements must not exaggerate the benefit of safety features to consumers or suggest that a vehicle's features enable it to be driven or ridden faster or in complete safety. (Motoring).
The ads must not appear again in the forms complained of.
We told Jaguar Land Rover Ltd to ensure their ads did not mislead about the functionality of their parking sensor feature.