Who: The Jury of Ethical Advertisement of the ARPP (the French Advertising Regulator) ), Kia and Hertz
When: 26 March 2020
Law stated as at: 11 May 2020
Two advertising campaigns were referred to the Jury of Ethical Advertisement of the ARPP for non-compliance with advertising ethical standards.
The first campaign was posted on Twitter by Kia Motors France to advertise its electrical car Kia e-Niro. The commercial showed a picture of a Kia car driven in the street, with a screenshot of a SMS sent to the driver saying: “Honey, please answer. Don’t pretend you can’t hear my calls your e-Niro is not making any noise!!!”.
The Jury stated that under the ARPP Automobile Code: “The advert… must not represent, in normal conditions of use, cars in violation of the rules of the Highway Code or security imperatives”. On this basis, the Jury considered that such a message invited the driver to answer their phone by way of a written SMS, suggesting that the phone was in the driver’s field of vision, which is forbidden by the French Highway Code. Therefore, the Jury found that the ad was not compliant with the Automobile Code.
The second campaign was a spot broadcasted on the internet by Hertz to advertise for its car rental services. The commercial showed images of a car parked on a beach twice (first with people sunbathing in their car and secondly with a man standing on the driver’s seat with his upper body out of the sunroof) and fishing from the car).
The jury stated that under the ARPP Sustainable Development Code, “Advertising should avoid any representation likely to trivialise, or even enhance, practices and ideas contrary to the objectives of sustainable development. For example: (…) the representation, in any form whatsoever, of motor vehicles in a natural environment should clearly position them on roads open to traffic.” After observing that in both cases, the vehicle was parked on a beach that was clearly not a road open to traffic, the Jury concluded that the ad was in breach of the ARPP Sustainable Development Code.
Why this matters:
The Jury’s decisions have made two useful reminders about car advertising. Advertisers for cars should be particularly cautious with the following:
- Ads must not show drivers using cars in a way that is not compliant with rules of the Highway Code or security rules;
- When represented in natural places, cars must be located on roads open to car traffic.