ASA rules Jaguar advertorial encouraged unsafe driving

08 Mar 2017


The UK advertising watchdog, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), has banned a Jaguar XE advertorial, which appeared in The Guardian newspaper, for promoting 'unsafe' hands-free technology.

The text of the advertorial described new car features such as wi-fi connectivity and smartphone-integrated apps, that allowed the driver to "organise your next meeting and stay in touch with colleagues and family on the move".

It said: "For busy executives, the car is increasingly becoming an extension of the work place. What was once a cocoon of time in limbo is being transformed into productive reclaimed time."

To further drive the point, the ad contained a testimonial from professor David Bailey, of the Aston Business School, who said "the connected nature of the car is invaluable" and let him "use the phone via the car", "use the apps through the car" and "do an interview while going somewhere".

Jaguar Land Rover said it had specifically stated that any of the described functions of the car should be used without compromising safety.

According to the car-maker, its hands-free features ergonomically benefited the driver reducing the risk of distraction, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road.

The regulator said the advertorial was "irresponsible" as it would likely encourage unsafe driving practices.

Expressing disappointment over the ruling, a spokesman for Jaguar Land Rover said: "For all of the connected car technologies we offer our customers, we will always offer what is safe to do whilst driving," he added.

"The hands-free technology in the Jaguar XE has been developed and tested to allow users to put their phone safely and legally away, and give priority to focus on the driving experience."

Though the ASA noted that the use of a hands-free mobile phone was not illegal and that the article had stated that the technologies in question could be used "without compromising safety", it pointed out that the UK's Highway Code stated that the use of hands-free kit could be a distraction, and that motorists should stop to make or take calls.

"The advertorial featured the headline claim that 'drive time is no longer downtime'," it said in its judgment.

"We considered readers would interpret this to mean that drivers could now perform various other tasks while driving."

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