AN ad for Peugeot has been banned for showing a driver reacting to reading a text message on the car’s built-in dashboard screen.
The television ad for the Peugeot 208, seen in July, showed a man reading the text “I’m bored without you” from a woman at a party as he was driving through city streets, following by him raising one hand in the air.
Five viewers complained that the ad was irresponsible because it condoned or encouraged dangerous or irresponsible driving.
Ad clearance agency Clearcast, responding on behalf of itself and Peugeot, said the Highway Code allowed a driver to adjust music or the radio and the action of the driver looking momentarily at a message on a screen in the dashboard was “no worse and arguably less distracting” than that.
They said the driver’s action of taking one hand off the steering wheel was momentary and no worse than changing gear.
Peugeot said the screen which displayed the text message was designed to avoid distraction and at eye level so the driver stayed focused on controlling the car.
Upholding the complaints, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said ads must not condone or encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving behaviour which would breach the Highway Code.
It said: “We considered that, to show a driver reading a text message which, even at the eye level at which it was shown in the ad, would have inevitably diverted his attention from the road ahead, and then reacting to it, amounted to a distraction that would have prevented him being aware of, and/or being in control of, other actions that were necessary for safe driving.”
It ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, adding: “We told Peugeot to ensure future ads did not condone or encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving behaviour prejudicial to safety and in breach of the legal requirements of the Highway Code.”