Volkswagen Amarok ‘Too Powerful for TV’ advertisement banned

Turns out it’s possible to fall foul of the regulations in an advertisement designed specifically to skirt regulations.

Remember two weeks ago, when we covered a promised review of current automotive advertising standards? And remember how we said “there are some ways to get around the code” and have fun with a commercial, holding up Volkswagen’s latest Amarok V6 campaign as an example? Turns out, we spoke too soon on that one.

According to a report published on Mumbrella, the commercial – which, ironically, pokes fun at what can and can’t be broadcast – has been pulled after complaints it “could encourage road users to attempt dangerous overtaking actions”, describing the campaign as “irresponsible advertising”.

“This practice would be extremely dangerous as well as totally illegal under the current motoring laws in Australia,” another complaint argued, referencing a scene where the Amarok overtakes a pair of road trains.

As it turns out, the advertising standards boards agreed, although it was willing to acknowledge the campaign’s imaginative nature.

“Although the advertisement had fantastical elements, the depiction of the vehicle starting to overtake the road trains was a realistic scenario that would constitute unsafe and reckless driving,” it said, justifying its decision to ban the advertisement.

“Further, the depiction of the driver choosing to leave the road and overtake both trucks on the shoulder of the road depicts driving which is reckless and would breach road rules,” it elaborated.

Volkswagen responded by suggesting the segment, which airs on television and is backed by a website, is “self-aware, humorously choreographed, and fanciful, while at the same time respectful of the industry codes, which regulate advertising content”.

“By way of animated storyboards and the live action footage is minimal and does not show any content which is unsafe or contrary to road safety laws (for example, the driver uses the vehicle’s indicator light to commence the overtaking movement in a safe and controlled manner over broken lines),” the company said, in a statement published on Mumbrella.

According to the article, Volkswagen has pulled the 60 second advertisement and will modify it, before re-airing it on November 5.

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments!