Who: The Advertising Standards Authority and Fiat Group Automobiles UK Ltd t/a Jeep UK
When: 1 April 2015
Law stated as at: 8 May 2015
The ASA upheld six complaints relating to Fiat’s radio advert for their new Jeep Cherokee; all objecting that the ad implied that driving in unsafe weather conditions was fun and thereby breached the CAP UK Code of Broadcast Advertising by encouraging unsafe driving.
The unsafe weather conditions were implied in the ad by a mock weather report describing “overnight snow” which had caused “severe disruption”. The report trailed off with the statement “the Met Office has warned drivers…”, leaving the listener to fill in the obvious gap that the weather conditions could make driving unsafe.
After the implied warning not to drive, the ad proceeded to depict a driver getting into their Jeep Cherokeee, announcing it was “time to play”, followed by the electronic voice of the car’s automated system stating “Snow mode activated”. The ad concluded with the Jeep’s driver saying, “make winter sport your favourite sport with Jeep”.
The ASA decided that the combination of the implied warning not to drive and the statement “time to play” would be understood by the listener as a description of the fun that they could have in driving in the Cherokee Jeep in potentially dangerous conditions.
The reference to “Snow mode” and making “winter your favourite sport” contributed to the perception that the ad was trying to present driving in the Cherokee Jeep as fun and acceptable, the ASA said, rather than something requiring caution, in spite of the implied warning at the beginning of the ad.
Therefore the ASA concluded that the ad irresponsibly encouraged unsafe driving practices and should not appear again in its current form.
Why this matters:
The ad split into its separate segments may not have breached the BCAP code rules on social responsibility and motoring, however, taken as a whole, statements in the ad such as “time to play” were perceived to encourage unsafe driving practices. Advertisers must ensure that the context of their ads and the implications behind them do not inadvertently breach the advertising code.