UK bans Jeep Cherokee ad for promoting unsafe driving

An ad for Jeep Cherokee vehicles has been banned in the UK for suggesting that driving in dangerous winter weather can be fun.

The radio ad began with a mock weather forecast which warned of overnight snow causing severe disruption before a voiceover said, “Time to play.”

Listeners heard an electronic voice saying “snow mode activated” before the voiceover said, “Make winter your favourite sport with Jeep. This season, get the new Jeep Cherokee.”

Six people complained that the ad was irresponsible because it portrayed driving in poor conditions as fun and therefore encouraged unsafe driving practices.

Fiat Group Automobiles, trading as Jeep, said it was never their intention to imply that driving in poor conditions was fun and believed the ad did not seek to encourage unsafe driving practices.

They said the “time to play” line alluded to the vehicle being ideal for winter conditions, enabling the driver and passengers to more easily travel to winter activities.

The RACC, commercial radio’s advertising clearance body, endorsed Jeep’s argument, saying it believed that the majority of listeners would not understand the ad to be encouraging dangerous driving.

But the Advertising Standards Authority disagreed, saying the “time to play” line would be understood as a reference to the fun derived from driving in the potentially dangerous conditions.

It said, “Whilst we considered the ad did not encourage all drivers to take enjoyment from driving in dangerous conditions regardless of their vehicle, we considered that the ad suggested that driving the Jeep using the snow mode in dangerous winter conditions for the purposes of fun was acceptable and that it subsequently encouraged unsafe driving practices.”

The ASA ruled that the ad should not appear again in its current form, adding, “We told Jeep UK to avoid content that could be understood to encourage dangerous driving.”