ADS for Ford, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler have been banned for encouraging irresponsible driving.
Two ads for Ford, seen on the carmaker’s YouTube channel and in cinemas, featured a voice-over that stated: “Do not go gentle into that goodnight… Old age should burn and rave at close of day. Rage. Rage against the dying of the light.”
Twelve viewers complained that they depicted driving as a way of relieving anger.
Ford said the aim of the ad was to contrast the “everyday frustrations of work life with the freedom of driving a new Ford Mustang”, with viewers left to imagine how they would feel driving the car instead of experiencing in the daily grind of office life.
It said the voice-over quoted the Dylan Thomas poem ‘Do not go gentle into that good night,’ and its reference in the ads suggested that a Ford Mustang could be the antidote to a dull life.
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said the ad showed the Mustang bring driven in an “abrupt manner” as on-screen text read “Don’t go quietly” and characters were depicted releasing their anger while driving the car.
The ASA said: “We therefore considered that the ads suggested that driving was a way of releasing anger, which put the driver, other motorists and pedestrians at risk.”
Ford said: “Our intent is never to encourage unsafe driving and, while care was taken during filming of the ad to show the car driving safely and at no point exceeding 15mph, we will no longer include the ad in our future marketing communications.”
The watchdog also upheld a complaint about a television ad for Nissan, which showed a car veering into the left-hand lane before taking a hard left around a corner into an airport, and a separate complaint about a Fiat Chrysler ad which showed cars being driven at high speeds and racing.
Fiat Chrysler said the track running between high rise buildings in its ad was designed to emulate the Hot Wheels children’s toy cars game and highlighted inventiveness and creativity rather than competitiveness.
Nissan said its ad aimed to demonstrate the intelligent technology and safety features of the Micra car, adding that the it believed the benefit of the Micra’s safety feature was not exaggerated and the driver was at all times driving within the applicable speed limits.
The ASA banned both ads, finding that Nissan’s ad implied the character had increased the speed of the vehicle because they were in a rush and Fiat portrayed the cars racing and being driven in a manner that condoned or encouraged unsafe or irresponsible driving.