A TV ad for the Volkswagen up! vehicle, seen on 11 August 2016, featured a group of friends driving to various different places and events with a cardboard cut-out of a friend. They took photos with the cut-out, which they then sent to their friend who was in hospital with a leg in plaster. The cars were featured driving in city settings, including around corners. The ad closed with the on-screen text “Live every moment”.
One viewer challenged whether the ad encouraged dangerous and irresponsible driving.
Volkswagen Group UK Ltd did not consider that the ad condoned or encouraged dangerous or inconsiderate driving. They stated that the driving depicted was responsible and in line with the applicable speed limits and rules of the road, for example, the vehicles were in the correct lanes at all times. They considered the focus was on design and the excitement of living life to the full on a trip with friends. Whilst the ad used fast cutting, camera zoom and an upbeat soundtrack, they felt this served to highlight the fun experiences being had by the group, rather than giving an impression of dangerous driving. They detailed a number of safety precautions the participants had been required to take during filming.
Clearcast understood that the ad was filmed within the applicable speed limits. They commented that the execution of the two cars driving around the corner had been filmed in a controlled and safe manner, under the 30 mph speed limit set for built-up urban roads with street lighting.
The ASA considered that the ad was likely to appeal to young drivers and acknowledged that particular care should be taken to ensure that the driving style featured in the ad was not dangerous, inconsiderate or irresponsible. We considered that the main focus of the ad was the story of friends enjoying themselves while taking group photos with a cardboard cut-out, and that viewers would see that the driving scenes as the means by which the group sought to find new locations for their photos. Whilst we acknowledged that the vehicles might be seen to be moving quickly in the driving scenes, for example when turning the corner, we did not consider that the drivers were driving irresponsibly or at excessive speed. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.
We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 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. (Motoring), but did not find it in breach.
No further action necessary.