Government Challenges Machismo Car Ads

07 November 2000

Undue emphasis on speed, power and performance when promoting cars on TV is alleged by the Government, prompting it to consider the imposition of further advertising restrictions. Officials at the Department for the Environment, Transport and Regions threaten that action will be taken unless carmakers ease back on the macho advertising accelerator.

The warning has caused concern at Britain’s Advertising Association, which two years ago believed it had convinced the government not to press for more stringent rules on car advertising across the European Union.

But since then the DETR, determined that advertising should play its part in reducing the number of road deaths, has commissioned research into the way cars are presented in TV commercials and the way this affects driving behaviour. The study and its findings have formed the basis for discussions with advertising watchdogs and industry bodies, including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

However, the Advertising Association questions both the methodology of the research and its conclusions and has requested a meeting at which DETR officials will be asked to clarify their intentions.

Says AA deputy-director Lionel Stanbrook: “The Government's commitment to reducing road deaths is worthy and wise but it's wrong in thinking car advertising is part of the problem. We can't see why the DETR is raising the issue again when Britain already has one of the best road safety records in the world.”

News Source: CampaignLive (UK)