Jeep Cherokee U.K. Ad Banned For Promoting Dangerous Driving

The Verdict: 'Make Winter Your Favorite Sport' Line Is Irresponsible

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2014 Jeep Cherokee
2014 Jeep Cherokee

An ad for Fiat Group's Jeep Cherokee has been banned by the U.K. Advertising Standards Authority for encouraging unsafe driving practices.

The radio spot, by Arc London, part of Publicis Groupe's Leo Burnett network, begins with a mock weather forecast. It starts, "Overnight snow has brought severe disruption to much of the country. The Met Office has warned drivers ..." after which the volume is turned down and the voiceover suggests, "Time to Play."

The listener then hears the sound of a car door being unlocked, with wind blowing in the background and snow crunching under foot. The endline is, "Make winter your favorite sport with Jeep. This season, get the new Jeep Cherokee."

Complaints to the ASA, the U.K. regulatory body for ads, claimed that the ad was irresponsible because it portrayed driving in poor conditions as fun and therefore encouraged unsafe driving practices.

Fiat responded by pointing out that time is limited in a radio spot and said that the ad was part of a larger campaign intended to promote the vehicle, by offering the reassurance of its 4x4 snow mode for use in winter driving. The automaker insisted it did not encourage unsafe driving practices and that "Time toPplay" alluded to the fact that the vehicle is ideal for winter conditions and so helped people to partake in winter sports.

However the ASA ruled that the "Time to Play" line would be understood as a reference to the fun to be had from driving in potentially dangerous conditions using the "snow mode" on the vehicle, and that this was backed up by the "Make winter your favorite sport" line.

The ad was therefore judged to have broken ASA codes relating to social responsibility and motoring.

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