The ad shows a Citroen C4 stationary at traffic lights pursued by a lone cyclist when it pulls away. Other cyclists join in the chase until the car loses them at the next junction and so the crowd turn and follow a C4 in the other direction.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received a complaint that the ad was being broadcast at times when it might be seen by children and it could encourage dangerous behaviour as none of the cyclists were wearing helmets.
Citroen UK defended the ad saying that it featured cyclists to highlight the vehicle’s low CO2 emissions and “stop-start technology” rather than to focus on cycling. It explained that the C4’s engine stopped when the car halted at traffic lights, which was less polluting and more comfortable for cyclists.
It added that there were no children in the ad and that wearing a cycle helmet is not a legal requirement.
The ASA said that it did not consider the ad condoned behaviour that could be dangerous to adults and older children but that younger children might not appreciate the “fantastical nature” of the spot. The watchdog said that younger children might be encouraged to copy the behaviour of not wearing a helment and that the ad should not be screened at times when they might be watching.