Toyota ads banned for encouraging ‘irresponsible’ behaviour

Two Toyota SUV adverts have been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) encouraging “irresponsible” behaviour towards the environment by driving off-road.

The advertising watchdog banned a Facebook post which showed several SUVs driving on a tarmacked road, with a voice over stating “one of nature’s true spectacles.”

The vehicles were then shown on the road, side by side, and driving through a built-up city area with a single vehicle then shown reversing up a driveway. The voiceover continued, “Toyota Hilux. Born to Roam.”

The second advert, a poster stating “Born to Roam”, showed two SUVs driving on a rocky incline, with 50 identical vehicles in a large pack on a hilly background.

While the ASA acknowledged Toyota’s defence that the viewers would interpret the scenes as fantasy and not interpret the ads as real-world driving, it argued that scenes portraying smaller number of cars were “depicted realistically in an off-road setting.”

“The ads presented and condoned the use of vehicles in a manner that disregarded their impact on nature and the environment,” the ASA concluded.

“The ad must not appear again in the form complained of.

“We told Toyota (GB) plc to ensure their future marketing communications contained nothing that was likely to encourage irresponsible behaviour towards the environment,” the ASA added.

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The issue was lodged by Adfree Cities who argued the adverts were encouraging driving that harms nature and the environment.

Adfree Cities co-director Veronica Wignall said: ““These adverts epitomise Toyota’s total disregard for nature and the climate, by featuring enormous, highly-polluting vehicles driving at speed through rivers and wild grasslands.”

A Toyota spokesperson told the Guardian: “Toyota does not condone behaviour that is harmful to the environment.

“In fact, over the course of the past three decades, not only has Toyota been one of the leaders in the automotive field in terms of carbon emissions reduction across its vehicle offering, it has shared hundreds of royalty-free licences, allowing others to use its electrification technology.

“As part of its wide range of global vehicle offerings, Toyota caters for customers who require a mobility option for reliable use in the harshest of terrains – those people who operate in off-road and remote settings.”

Feature image credits: William Armstrong

MarketingNature and the environmentNewsTransport

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