ASA bans The&Partnership’s Toyota ad for encouraging dangerous driving

A national newspaper ad for Toyota by The&Partnership has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority for condoning and encouraging irresponsible driving.

The ad is for Toyota’s GR Series, which is built on knowledge and technology developed for its Gazoo Racing motorsport brand. There are references to “That GR feeling,” which the ASA said was associated with the growling sound of a high performance engine, but Toyota said were merely initials.

Another Toyota defence was to say that the “That … feeling” line is common in ads (which doesn’t reflect well on creative ambition), so audiences would be familiar with it and “interpret the claim solely as a reference to the feeling of enjoyment.”

There was also an issue around the phrase “heart pumping excitement” and the fact that the vehicles are pictured too close together on something that looks like a public road, in a position that suggests they could be racing each other. Toyota said the absence of road markings suggested otherwise and the proximity is clearly about getting different models in the picture.

The ASA’s judgement states: “We considered that the overall impression created by the ad was a suggestion that the high performance nature of GR Series vehicles meant that drivers of those vehicles could push the boundaries of safe and responsible driving and that it was desirable and enjoyable to do so. We concluded that in so doing the ad condoned and encouraged unsafe or irresponsible driving, and as such breached the Code.”

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