Mini pulled over by ad watchdog

By AdNews | 15 May 2013
Mini's Paceman campaign.

The ad watchdog has upheld a case against car brand Mini. While one complainant argued its ad "represented a new low in advertising" and was "completely inane". The watchdog disagreed. However, it did rule against the ad for other reasons.

The ASB also upheld an ad from DVD and video game distributor All Interactive Entertainment, ruling it showed unjustified violence.

Mini's ad - which appeared on subscription television - was promoting its new range of Paceman vehicles. It featured a man and his partner in separate cars taking alternative routes to get home. The man arrives home first, with the woman then extending her middle finger towards him in jest.

The Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB) received two complaints about the ad. The first claimed: "[It] is deeply offensive, and represents a new low in advertising. [Is] the Australian public so thick as to resonate with this sort of thing?

"And, if so, why stop with mere gestures - why not have the woman actually scream some four letter obscenities at him? And then spit in his face, before throwing some faeces at him. Australia, you need to sharpen up your image - because having this sort of thing on the nations televisions does nothing for it. [It is] completely inane."

The second complainant believed the ad showed unsafe driving including speeding and reckless driving.

While the ASB didn't uphold the case in regards to the first complainant’s concerns, it did rule in favour of the second consumer's argument. "The Board noted that when the woman extends her middle finger to the man she follows the gesture with a smile to show she is not being serious [...]," it said.

However, it said the spot's audio effects - which included tyres squealing and high revs - in conjunction with the visual images was suggestive of driving which wasn't appropriate for the environment shown.

Mini agreed to pull the ad and said it would run alternative material in its place.

The watchdog also upheld a case against DVD and video game distributor All Interactive Entertainment over a television ad for a game called "Dead Island Riptide". It showed the silhouette of a zombie hanging by the neck from a palm tree. The title of the game also appeared in dripping blood-red text.

The complainant claimed it could be "very traumatic for people who have experienced the suicide of a family member by hanging (or any other means)".

The ASB agreed: "The issue of suicide is a depiction of violence which is not justifiable even in the context of an advertisement for a computer game aimed at adults. [...] It depicts material which is contrary to prevailing community standards on health and safety."

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