Ad description

A radio ad for the taxi company Royal Cars, heard on radio station Jack FM Oxfordshire, on 1 December 2017. A child’s voice said, “I went to a party, mum, I went to a party, and remembered what you said, you told me not to drink, mum, so I had lemonade instead. I got into my car sure to get home in one piece I never knew what was coming, mum, something I expected least. Now I’m lying on the pavement and I hear the guard say ‘the kid that caused this wreck was drunk’, mum. His voice is so far away. Tell my sister not be afraid, mum. Tell daddy to be brave when I go to heaven with daddy’s girl on my grave. My breath is getting shorter, mum, getting really scared. These are my final moments and I’m so unprepared. I wish that you could hold me, mum, as I lie here and die. I wish I could say I love you, mum, so I love you, mum, and goodbye.” Then another voice-over said, “Drink Aware with Jack and Royal Cars, open a prepaid account with Royal Cars to ensure safe travel for your loved ones this Christmas.”


The complainant challenged whether the ad;

1. had been inappropriately scheduled at a time when children could hear it; and

2. was likely to cause undue distress.


Oxon Transport Services Ltd t/a Royal Cars said they sponsored the ad as part of a social awareness campaign. They said their aim was to introduce an incentive scheme to members of the public in Oxfordshire that would encourage them to use Royal Cars' services and not drink drive. Royal Cars said they did not have any involvement in the production of the ad.

Passion Radio Oxford Ltd t/a JACKfm Oxfordshire said the audio formed the core part of a responsible, station-led action campaign aimed at deterring drink-driving across the festive period. They said that around 85,000 people were convicted of drink-driving every year in England and Wales and the ad reflected a huge sense of responsibility that Jack FM Oxfordshire held to their audience and to society in Oxfordshire.

Jack FM Oxfordshire said the ad ran only in the month of December when the risk of drink-driving was at its highest and that the audio was meant to be simplistic. They believed that in order to deliver a message of such importance, the audio needed to challenge the audience and capture their attention.

Jack FM Oxfordshire said the ad was suited to the audio as it would encourage people to book a Royal Car instead of drink-driving. They said the audio was suitable for the radio station's audience and that the majority of their audience were of legal driving age and therefore relevant to the content broadcast.

Jack FM Oxfordshire also provided figures from RAJAR, Ipsos Mori and RSMB (a statistical research organisation) which assessed the age range of Jack FM and Jack FM2's audience. The youngest age range of its audience was 15–24 years, which accounted for 28% of all Jack FM and Jack FM2 listeners. They said the ad was heard during the breakfast slot of their radio programming.


1 & 2. Not upheld

The ASA considered that the first section of the ad, played before the Royal Cars promotional spot, was emotive and concerned a subject matter that some viewers might find upsetting, particularly those who had been or knew someone involved in a road traffic collision as a result of drink-driving. We also acknowledged that the fictional poem, written in simplistic child-like language and spoken by a child as she died at the roadside, had the potential to cause discomfort.

We considered, however, that the emotional nature of the appeal was proportional to the content of the ad and the seriousness of the issue being discussed, particularly as it was broadcast at a time of year associated with a rise in drink-driving collisions.

We noted that a promotional ad for Royal Cars had been attached to the end of the audio which some listeners may have found distasteful but considered its tone to be appropriate and its message relevant in light of the fact it promoted a significantly safer alternative to driving after drinking.

We acknowledged that no scheduling restrictions had been applied and the ad had been heard during Jack FM Oxfordshire’s breakfast-time radio slot We acknowledged that, as it was shown during term time as well, there was potential for the ad to be heard by children. Nevertheless, we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause distress to those children who did hear it and therefore no scheduling restriction was necessary in light of the ad’s subject matter.

We therefore concluded that the ad had not been scheduled inappropriately, and was unlikely to cause undue distress.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules and 4.10 (Harm and Offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.


No further action necessary.


32.3     4.10    

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