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Land Rover ad showing car parking on a cliff edge banned by ASA

Land Rover cliff-edge advert

A Land Rover advert has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for ‘misleading’ viewers about the functionality of parking sensors.

The advert depicts a Land Rover Defender vehicle parking on a cliff edge, utilising the reversing camera and parking sensors. Following two complaints, the ASA felt that some viewers may believe that the car’s assistance systems could prevent a driver from reversing over a cliff edge.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) agreed that parking sensors would not warn of empty space behind the vehicle. It said, however, that the side shots of the vehicle “clearly showed” that it was reversing towards a boulder, the size and height of which would have been picked up by the parking sensors.

Clearcast said they had advised that all sequences shown needed to be accurate demonstrations of how the vehicle and the features worked. They noted that rocks were shown behind the vehicle and that the technology alerted the driver to them.

The ASA considered viewers would recognise that some of the scenes in the ads showed the vehicles driving in extreme off-road conditions, such as through waterfalls and across sand dunes, but that other scenes were more reminiscent of driving in towns and cities, and included features such as roads, traffic lights, a roundabout, a car wash and a parking sign.

In outlining its decision, the ASA said: “While the ads showed the vehicles using their features and manoeuvring in extreme conditions, we considered viewers would see them as illustrating how the vehicles would perform in all environments, including everyday settings.

“We considered the ads focused on the reversing feature and included a scene with an in-car camera view. The camera was shown in “on-road” mode and the sensor beeped as the vehicle approached the edge of the cliff over which the car would fall if the brakes were not applied.”

The ASA judgement stated that while some small rocks were visible as the vehicle reversed, they appeared to be incidental to the scene and it was not obvious that the parking sensor was reacting to the rocks rather than the edge of the cliff.

“We considered some viewers would therefore interpret that to mean that the car’s parking sensors could recognise when drivers might be reversing near a drop, which might include a smaller hill edge or a drop before water found in “on-road” areas, both in urban and more rural settings,” the ASA added.

The ASA dismissed 96 complaints, last year, which claimed a different Land Rover Defender advert undermined efforts to tackle climate change and ecological damage.

JLR has fallen foul of the ASA in the past. In 2014, its campaign for the F-Type, featuring actor Tom Hiddleston, was banned by the watchdog for "promoting speeding and unsafe driving".

More recently, a television advert for the Motorway used car marketplace was banned by ASA following an allegation that it “encouraged driving behaviour that was dangerous”.

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