ASA bans ‘reckless’ Toyota video game-style ad – is the UK’s ad regulator losing its grip on reality?

Not much is going right for Toyota at the moment, it’s just had to recall 2.7m cars in the UK because of a problem with the steering wheel. You’d expect them to check this rather important bit of kit first wouldn’t you? Makes you wonder why they don’t just give you the parts and get you to assemble it yourself.

But the Japanese car giant, used as it is to nasty surprises, would have been mightily perplexed to learn that the UK’s ad regulator the Advertising Standards authority has banned this Saatchi & Saatchi Grand Theft Auto-style online film for the GT86 sports car because it ‘encourages reckless driving.’ What else do such games do? Or just about every movie you’ve ever seen.

This is just the latest in a series of heavy-handed verdicts from the ASA. The ad business is beset by so many regulations these days that there isn’t that much to complain (with the exception of serial offenders like L’Oreal).

The ASA must be ‘avin’ a larf, as that reckless movie driver Jason Statham might put it.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.