Jaguar Land Rover is in hot water with the ASA for publishing an advertorial inside The Guardian that promoted unsafe driving.
The advertorial, which was published last September and had the headline ‘Drive time is no longer downtime’, promoted the Wi-Fi, smartphone apps and voice-controlled info-taintment features within the car giant’s new models.
The article featured lines such as “the combination of smart technology built into the car, and vehicle optimised smartphone apps, can help you organise your next meeting and stay in touch with colleagues and family while on the move.” However, following two complaints from the public, the advertorial has been banned by the ASA.
In its defence, Jaguar Land Rover claimed the advertorial did not encourage dangerous driving due to it clearly stating the promoted features should be used “without compromising safety”. It also noted that driving while using a hands-free mobile phone kit is not illegal.
But the ban was upheld with the ASA referencing the Highway Code, which states using hands-free equipment is likely to distract drivers’ attention from the road. The Highway Code also states drivers should stop to make or take calls rather than take the advertorial’s advice of doing it on-the-go.
An ASA spokesman said: “The advertorial featured the headline claim ‘Drive time is no longer down time’ and we considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks while driving.
“We concluded that the advertorial was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices and that the ad should not run again in its current form.”
The Jaguar Land Rover advertorial ban is interesting given the way hands-free features are becoming more and more popular within modern cars. Chervolet, for example, recently launched an unlimited 4G mobile data plan for its drivers in the US.
However, any car brands looking to promote such features through their marketing must do so responsibly or not at all. The ASA spokesman concluded: “We told Jaguar Land Rover that their future advertising must not encourage drivers to carry out such tasks that were likely to distract their attention from the road, making them incapable of having full control of the vehicle.”