A TV ad for Volkswagen’s ‘think blue technology’ featured a father taking his baby for a drive and stopping alongside another father doing the same. Both babies were shown in front-facing car seats.
Two viewers challenged whether the ad was harmful and irresponsible because they understood that it was illegal for a child under a certain age and weight to travel in front-facing car seats.
Clearcast said that Volkswagen Group UK Ltd (Volkswagen) had confirmed, before the filming of the ad, that the car seat would be legally compliant. They provided correspondence to verify that.
Volkswagen said they took steps to ensure that the car seat was legally compliant by checking the weight of the babies used in the ad. They pointed out that two sets of twins had been used for the ad. They provided evidence to show that one set of twins both weighed 9.2 kg at the casting day and the other set of twins weighed 9.41 kg and 9.59 kg respectively, just before the ad was shot. They also provided correspondence to show that the advertising agency had confirmed that the first set of twins were also weighed just after the ad had been filmed and were 9 kg and 9.5 kg.
The ASA acknowledged that government legal guidance stated that a forward-facing or rear-facing child seat should be used for children weighing between 9 and 18 kg. We considered that Volkswagen had provided evidence to show that one set of twins were weighed just before the ad was filmed and the other set of twins were weighed just after. We noted that Volkswagen also provided evidence to show that both sets of twins were 9 kg or over at these respective times. We also noted that Volkswagen had confirmed, before the ad was shot, that they would ensure the car seat was fitted correctly and in accordance with the law. We acknowledged that both Clearcast and Volkswagen were aware of the guidelines and had taken measures to ensure that they were acting within the law. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was not harmful or irresponsible.
We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.2 1.2 Advertisements must be prepared with a sense of responsibility to the audience and to society. (Responsible advertising), 4.4 4.4 Advertisements must not include material that is likely to condone or encourage behaviour that prejudices health or safety. (Harm and offence) and 5.3 5.3 Advertisements must not condone or encourage practices that are detrimental to children's health. (Children), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.