The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint that an ad by RM Sotheby’s encouraged dangerous driving.
A tweet from RM Sotheby’s account, promoting an upcoming auction, included a video which depicted a woman in a bar who drifted off into a daydream, in which she was the passenger in a red, convertible Ferrari Testarossa.
The driver was then depicted driving at speed, weaving in and out of traffic, including oncoming vehicles. The soundtrack of the video included the revving of the car’s engine, arcade-style beeping noises, quotes from the video game Outrun, and police sirens in the background.
As the Ferrari overtook another car at speed the woman stood up and held onto the top of the windscreen, with her head and upper body above the windscreen, laughing.
The ASA concluded that the ad was irresponsible as the driving depicted in the ad condoned unsafe and irresponsible driving and driving practices that were likely to condone or encourage a breach of the rules of the Highway Code.
The ASA said: “We considered the driving manoeuvres featured would be dangerous and irresponsible if emulated in real life on a public highway.
“We also considered that the numerous shots of the woman laughing and smiling, and the scene in which she stood up, held onto the top of the windscreen, with her head and upper body above the windscreen, and laughing, condoned the dangerous style of driving depicted.”
RM Sotheby’s said they had not intended for the ad to condone or encourage dangerous driving behaviour and that it was intended to resemble the video arcade game Outrun, and the female character’s experiences in the car were meant to be part of a daydream.
They said that the ad had been produced to replicate the style of the game, though it had not included scenes of a road traffic accident. They also believed the video did not depict the car driving against oncoming vehicles.
RM Sotheby’s said all filming was done at low speeds, with the images being sped up in the final edit to create the illusion of speed, and took place on private land, not on a public highway, so no road traffic laws had been contravened.
A WeBuyAnyCar complaint to the ASA resulted in a ban on Motorway TV and radio adverts which claimed it could offer motorists “up to £1,000 more” for their used car.
A national newspaper advert aiming to showcase the “heart-pumping” excitement of Toyota’s GR Series of performance cars was also banned following a complaint to the ASA by green campaigners.