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Agency in UK banned the new Volkswagen Polo commercial – is it really that harmful? (Video)

Posted August 2, 2018

There is so much car manufacturers have to consider. There are rules and regulations how safe cars have to be, how little fuel they can consume, what gases are emitted out of their tailpipes and so one. However, the trouble doesn‘t stop after the car is on the market – you have to advertise it and commercials have to meet rules as well. Just look at Volkswagen Polo commercial that recently got banned in UK.

ASA decided that this commercial encourages irresponsible driving. Image credit: Volkswagen via Youtube

That’s right – TV commercials are still getting banned sometimes if government agencies decide that they may be harmful for the public in one way or another. The clip of the new Volkswagen Polo got banned by UK’s Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), which is pretty much industry’s watchdog with its own requirements and code. However, ASA was not the one to take a notice of Polo’s commercial – it actually got six complaints. Agency looked into them and decided to ban the commercial for encouraging irresponsible driving. How was irresponsible driving depicted and encouraged in this Volkswagen commercial? Take a look:

Well, the storyline is simple. A young buy just keeps getting in trouble with his means of transportation. At first it was a bicycle and then – a scooter. Eventually the boy grows up and starts driving a car – the new Volkswagen Polo. In the first drive with his scared dad the young driver creates a couple of dangerous situations, but Polo’s safety systems save the day. That is pretty much it, but ASA thinks that this commercial violates two of its rules – “Advertisements must not condone or encourage dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving or motorcycling,” and “Motoring advertisements must not exaggerate the benefits of safety features to consumers.”

And so Volkswagen could not use this video to advertise its new Polo in UK. German car manufacturer thinks that ASA is simply misinterpreting the message of this commercial. It is not encouraging irresponsible driving, because the young guy is not being irresponsible. He is just inexperienced, which was clearly depicted through the timeline of him growing up. Safety features are not overly glorified as well – they are just there when you need them.

But ASA argues that this commercial creates an image that it is ok to not pay attention and not to be aware of your surroundings, because safety systems are doing work for you. Agency also says that father in the commercial is clearly scared, which just shows how irresponsibly his son is driving. Meanwhile Volkswagen argues that father’s facial expressions are actually the way they showed that this is not a good driving style, despite the safety systems.

But what do you think? Does this commercial advertise irresponsible driving? What is its main problem?

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