Watchdog rescinds Land Rover advertising ban in the forest | Advertising | Local News

Watchdog rescinds Land Rover advertising ban in the forest | Advertising

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Environmental activists have accused Britain’s advertising watchdog of bias for overturning a draft ruling to ban advertisements for a mud-splattered Land Rover Defender off-roader after previously saying it encouraged “socially irresponsible” driving which could “damage vulnerable habitats”.

The national newspaper’s ad featured a defender in a forest with the headline “Life is so much better with no restrictions.” The text accompanying the ad said the SUV had “the ability to go almost anywhere and do anything.” If you take one for an extended test drive… a whole new world of freedom awaits you ”.

The Advertising Standards Authority received 96 complaints, including from several environmental campaign groups, that the advertising was socially irresponsible for promoting and condoning behavior that could destroy environmentally sensitive environments and harm the environment.

Jaguar Land Rover, the Indian automaker that builds the Defender in Slovakia, said the vehicle was pictured on an established track in a forest and focused on increased freedom after Covid-19 restrictions eased, not on irresponsible driving behavior.

In the draft recommendation shared with the complainants, the ASA, which said in September it would crack down on marketing that encourages irresponsible behavior for the environment, decided that advertising should be banned.

“The overall impression of the ad suggested that the vehicle could be driven without any restrictions, including in environmentally sensitive and off-road environments such as forests, where in doing so it would be likely to cause damage to habitats and vulnerable vegetation, ”he added. ASA said.

“We considered that the advertisement encouraged and tolerated the use of a vehicle in a manner detrimental to environmentally sensitive environments, and was therefore socially irresponsible.”

The advertisement of the national newspaper in its entirety
The advertisement of the national newspaper in its entirety

However, final approval of a decision is given by the ASA board, which is made up of 12 members, eight of whom are considered “independent” from the media industry. The board decides whether or not the ads violated the advertising rules.

Its final decision, released on Wednesday, overturned the draft recommendation and allowed the announcement to violate UK advertising rules, saying advertisers should “be careful” when portraying vehicles in environmentally sensitive environments such as cars. forests.

He added that unpaved roads such as the one pictured in the ad were common in many rural areas and 4×4 vehicles could be “vital in these communities.” “We therefore considered that the vehicle depicted in the advertisement was not used in an irresponsible manner … and that the advertisement was not socially irresponsible”, concluded the ASA. “No further action is necessary”.

Robbie Gillett, of the Adfree Cities campaign, who filed a complaint about the ad, said: urban SUV possession and lethal increase in air pollution.

The watchdog said the ASA board has determined that the allegations in the announcement were about the Covid-19 restrictions, not the environment. “The board is independent, ensuring that our decisions are impartial,” said a spokesperson. “They determined that consumers would understand ‘Life is so much better with no restrictions’ as a slogan to refer to the lockdown restrictions of Covid-19, rather than the environment. They also determined that … it was not clear that the vehicle was definitely driving off-road, illegally or irresponsibly.

In a separate decision, the ASA banned an in-app advertisement for a mobile game called Gold and Goblins that “trivialized and tolerated the serious and sensitive topic of domestic violence.” The ad included a video of a woman playing a game on her cell phone, while behind her a man picked up a chair and brought it over her head as if to hit her with it.

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