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MG protests over ASA 'veto' powers

MG Rover has been forced to alter ads for the MG model range after the Advertising Standards Authority banned the campaign for placing "undue emphasis on speed and encouraging irresponsible driving".

The 'Full fat, high caffeine and maximum strength' ads, with the 'life's too short not to' strap line, have been used since July. They were dropped after a single complaint was upheld by the ASA.

An MG Rover spokesman said the company was seeking talks with the ASA about the "unmitigated circumstances" surrounding its ruling.

"We don't believe that one complainant should effectively have the power of veto over the ad," he said. "We want the opportunity to appeal."

MG Rover insisted that rival carmakers like Renault and Vauxhall were "doing more" to indicate high performance in their ads.

"They are showing blurred wheels and background while we simply had the inference of the car coming off the page," said the spokesman.

Privately, MG Rover executives, though annoyed at the ASA ruling, were pleased at the amount of coverage the MG range subsequently received in the media.

John Sanders, MG Rover group marketing director, said: "We make no apology for the fact that the new MG range is faithful to the MG tradition of producing genuine sportscars. Communicating the performance characteristics inherent within any MG means an inevitable dynamic association, with the excitement that comes from driving these cars."

MG Rover has evolved the ads, keeping the existing straplines, but dropping the background. (November 8, 2001)

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