A radio ad featured the voices of broadcasters introducing weather reports. Voices stated "And now it's time for the weather", "And that's all from John and I, now it's the lovely Mike with the weather, [laughing] I bet you've got an interesting story or two to tell tonight", "[laughs] Well, Michelle you wouldn't be wrong there, we really have …", "Now over to the Metrological centre for the weather". Before each weather forecast, the radio station was switched to another station. A voice said, "Quattro, Audi's legendary all-wheel-drive system gives you confidence in all conditions, so you'll never have to listen to a weather forecaster again. Audi, Vorsprung Durch Technik."
The complainant, who heard the ad in mid-winter and believed it encouraged drivers to ignore safety advice given in the Highway Code, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.
Investigated under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) and 20.1 (Motoring).
Volkswagen Group (Audi) said the ad was not irresponsible and did not encourage drivers to ignore safety advice because it was obviously humorous and would not be taken seriously. Their main aim was to make listeners aware that the advertised car could give drivers confidence in all weather conditions, which was portrayed by the driver immediately switching off the radio each time a weather forecast was about to be presented. They said they had made use of exaggerated characters; such as the dialogue between the presenter and weather forecaster, which was obviously forced, and the old-fashioned presenter's voice for the "metrological centre" forecast, with the implication that the driver might be relieved to turn off the dialogue. They said that drivers listened to weather forecasts for a number of reasons and it was unlikely that listeners would interpret the ad to mean that they should not listen to a weather report again or should not pay attention to weather warnings. They pointed out that there was no implication in the ad that the radio was being turned off in adverse weather conditions, such as the sound of heavy wind or rain, and none of the presenters implied a severe weather warning was about to be given. They said the casual dialogue between the presenter and forecaster reinforced the impression that a severe weather report was not imminent. They said the ad was light-hearted and intended to highlight the Audi Quattro's features, rather than provide a serious instruction to drivers of the car to switch off all future weather forecasts. They reiterated their belief that the ad was not irresponsible and would not have a real impact on the safety of drivers.
The RACC understood that the complainant believed that the ad encouraged drivers to ignore safety advice that listeners might hear on weather reports, such as fog, ice or snow, by advocating that listeners did not need to listen to a weather forecast report again. They believed that the light-hearted style of the ad, both in content and presentation, would not advocate irresponsible or dangerous driving, but that the ad promoted the car's all weather capabilities.
The ASA considered that listeners would interpret the ad as light-hearted in tone, promoting the confidence that Audi believed owners of cars with Quattro would feel when driving their vehicles. We noted that the ad did not make any direct reference to severe weather conditions and that the weather forecasts in the ad used exaggerated voices or dialogue, which we considered reinforced the light-hearted impression that listeners were likely to get from the ad. Therefore, within that context, we considered it was unlikely that listeners would interpret the claim "you'll never have to listen to a weather forecaster again" literally and it was unlikely that listeners would get the impression that safety advice on weather forecasts could be ignored. Because we considered the ad did not encourage drivers to ignore safety advice, we concluded the ad was not irresponsible.
We investigated the ad under BCAP 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) and 20.1 20.1 Advertisements must not condone or encourage dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving or motorcycling. Advertisements must not suggest that driving or motorcycling safely is staid or boring. 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), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.