Britain’s nanny state fails to see the irony in banning ad that shows Toyota GT-86 escape from a nanny state.
Toyota's brilliant new ad for the GT-86 (known Stateside as the Scion FR-S or Subaru BR-Z) has a clear and simple message: That its rear-wheel drive sports car offers an exciting escape from the endless line of characterless models weighed down with driver assists that deaden the driving experience. In the ad, the GT-86 is driven through the narrow streets of an animated dystopia as Big Brother tries, and fails, to stop the driver escaping from his humdrum soulless existence.
Having reached the edge of the virtual world full of life, he explodes through a glass wall and into the real world where one assumes driving a sports car with a bit of enthusiasm isn't immediately deemed reckless. Ironic then, that two viewers in the "real world" saw fit to complain about the ad, leading to the spot being banned from British airwaves.
According to the UK's Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), Toyota's GT-86 commercial condones, neigh, encourages irresponsible and dangerous driving. It claims "that the driving, and particularly the speeds, could be emulated on real roads. We also considered that the highly stylized nature of the ad glamorized the reckless manner in which the car was driven." In its defense, Toyota noted that the driver was never shown to be out of control, and in any case the commercial was set in a clearly make-believe world that is impossible to replicate. (In other words, they might as well ban Harry Potter for promoting sorcery.)
The reality is that the only effect of singling out the ad as unsuitable for viewing is that more people will now watch it online and sales of the GT-86 will increase. ASA is clearly trying to justify its existence in austere times when the pointless organization should be closed down and the millions of pounds that keep it running rerouted into more worthy public bodies.