The ASA, which has no mandatory powers, upheld 111 complaints about the TBWA London campaign which was headlined "4X4 play".
One poster featured the Terrano Outlander, superimposed onto a woman's body which was decorated to simulate hilly terrain. One of the woman's breasts was visible. The second poster featured a man's body in a similar manner.
The ASA agreed that the campaign was offensive. It asked Nissan to withdraw the ads and to seek its guidance if it planned to use nude models or sexual innuendo to promote vehicles in future.
Nissan argued, the ASA says, that its research indicated that people "link independence and the freeing of sexual inhibitions with motor cars."
A Nissan spokeswoman says that "we were very surprised to receive complaints"--30 in all. "We didn't realize that the campaign would cause offense to anyone." The new Nissan ad campaign, she says, "is a variation on the theme. It just displays a male torso." The caption reads: "More pulling power."