The Advertising Standards Authority is warning car makers to stay within agreed guidelines on speed and environmental claims or face severe penalties.
The warning, viewed by the ASA as a pre-emptive strike, follows one of the biggest car advertising spending months on record.
The ASA added specific regulations governing car advertising to its code of conduct earlier this year and so far the rules have not been breached. But there is concern that as the market becomes increasingly cut-throat, advertisers might be tempted to push the regulations.
The ASA’s monthly report highlights a series of complaints against Honda Europe, Lada Cars, Peugeot Talbot and Volvo. But only the complaint against a Honda poster ad, showing a caged canary next to a car exhaust pipe, was upheld.
“There has been a reduction in the amount of glamorisation of speed and acceleration claims,” says ASA spokesman Graham Fowler. “They are still used, but now they are couched within safety claims rather than macho terms. We are just trying to point out the pitfalls and alert the industry as part of a pre-emptive programme.”