A television advert for the Motorway used car marketplace has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) following an allegation that it “encouraged driving behaviour that was dangerous”.
The TV campaign, which shows car retailers chasing a moving lorry towing a home and a car in an effort to illustrate platform’s attraction of competing bids from car retailers in a transaction that can be completed at home.
A compliant to the ASA highlighted that the pursuing cars “crossed lanes, overtook each other and two drivers were shown smiling and looking happy as they did so” in the advert.
“The ad ended with one of the drivers jumping out of the moving car and into the trailer to unhook the house from the trailer,” it added.
In its response to the allegations, Motorway told the ASA that the ad was designed to be “fantastical” and “not in the real world”.
It said that at the start of the ads, the man was shown using the Motorway service to sell his car while in the bath.
Once he had selected his car, a full-sized brick house was shown on the back of a truck with Motorway branding being driven down an empty motorway.
Motorway said those scenes cemented the idea that ad was not set in the real world and that the bath scene, which was seen several times, emphasised that it was fantastical and was happening in the man’s imagination.
It added that the driving style portrayed in the advert was “very choreographed” and showed the drivers were in complete control at all times.
Despite Motorway’s comments, the ASA ruling banned further use of the campaign in its current form.
The ASA said: “The CAP and BCAP Codes stated that ads must not condone or encourage irresponsible driving.”
It said that the scene was “set on a motorway with ordinary cars and drivers which would be recognisable to viewers as a real-life setting”, adding: “We considered the driving manoeuvres featured would be dangerous and irresponsible if emulated in real life on a public highway.
“The drivers were shown smiling, laughing and pleased about overtaking the other cars in that manner, which we considered condoned the competitive style of driving depicted.
“Because we considered the driving depicted in the ads condoned competitive and unsafe driving, we concluded the ads were irresponsible.”
News of the ASA's ruling against Motorway comes a week after it rejected a complaint from the Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) which contested Cazoo’s claims that the vehicles it offers for subscription were not “new cars”.
It concluded that the pre-registered status of the cars offered by Cazoo was immaterial to the consumer in the context of the subscription model.
View the newly-updated Motorway TV advert here: