The Australian government plans a review of the Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising following complaints some ads promote dangerous driving.
Volvo Australia recently stopped running a television commercial for its V60 wagon after the Advertising Standards Board ruled the commercial should be modified or withdrawn, saying it gave an impression of “reckless speed” and “unsafe driving” that would violate the law.
The board says the ad shows the Volvo being driven quickly around a warehouse or wharf area, and drifting or sliding around corners in order to steer the vehicle due to its fast rate of speed.
It said the image of the vehicle doing a 180-degree turn is a depiction of driving that, if it occurred on a road, would be considered unsafe or reckless and against the law anywhere in Australia.
Volvo denies the ad breaches the code and, after first eliminating the scenes showing the car drifting, quickly cornering and making a 180-degree turn, says it now plans to remove the commercial from all forms of television.
Earlier,Australia changed one of its ads when the board ruled it promoted reckless driving.
The Advertising Standards Board has no legal enforcement powers and only can ask an advertiser to change or withdraw what it deems an offending ad.
The code of practice applies to all motor-vehicle advertising in Australia, with complaints adjudicated by the non-government board. The code faces review by the National Road Safety Council, an advisory body within the federal Department of Infrastructure and Transport.
The NRSC is commissioning a review of the auto industry’s self-regulation of advertising, a department spokesman tells WardsAuto in an email. The review will evaluate whether the industry effectively avoids displaying or promoting unsafe or illegal driving.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries introduced the code in 2002 as a means of industry self-regulation of motor-vehicle advertising. It advises advertisers about suitable standards for the portrayal of images, themes and messages relating to road safety.