A radio advertisement promoting Dacia Ireland stated:
“Is your morning commute getting you down?
Think abut jogging to work instead.
Get up at 5am. Do some calf stretches. Swallow a few raw eggs. Don’t forget to pack a band-aid for those blisters. Ah no we’re just messing.
I bet that morning drive doesn’t seem so bad now?
Tips to lighten your morning commute with Dacia.”
The complainant considered the advertisement discouraged the use of a different mode of transport, i.e. jogging, and concluded that sitting in traffic in a Dacia was better by comparison. They said that we are in an age where more sustainable and healthy travel options must be encouraged, e.g. public transport, walking, cycling and jogging. They therefore believed the advertisement was irresponsible both to consumers and to society as it actively discouraged healthier modes of transport. The complainant also considered that by encouraging consumers to drive to work, the advertisement subsequently encouraged an increase in CO2 emissions which contribute to global warming and pose a threat to human health and welfare.
The advertisers said that they never intend to mislead or confuse customers and that they take their commitment to the ASAI Code extremely seriously. They said that the advertisement was never developed to discourage the use of a different mode of transport, i.e. jogging, but was simply aligning with the Dacia brand whereby a key part of the brand is to introduce humour into their advertising communications. They explained that their brand is about smart choices and giving customers ‘Just what you need’.
They said they did not conclude that a Dacia was better than jogging, however, they simply showed how sitting in traffic with the Dacia brand didn’t sound so bad when compared to doing X, Y and Z before jogging. They explained it was simply allowing them to bring some tongue-in-cheek humour into their radio stings and that they considered the line “Ah no we’re just messing” made it clear that this was intended as a joke. They said they recognised that, for many commuters travelling long distances, the use of a car was the only viable transport solution.
They said that to address the issue of emitting CO2 in traffic, the complainant would be reassured to know that all 2020 Dacia models were equipped with Stop & Start technology in order to minimise the CO2 emissions while the vehicle remains stationary. In line with the automotive industry, they said, the Dacia brand was committed to reducing its CO2 emissions.
They said that the Dacia brand has never taken itself too seriously and that it always aims to entertain in its communications, of which they considered this advertisement to be an example. They said that the segment they were sponsoring was called ‘Lighten Your Commute’ which was aimed at bringing a bit of laughter to people’s day. They explained that they have tried to do this by poking fun at the things often seen out and about while driving.
They concluded by reaffirming that they would never intend to mislead, confuse or influence consumers in a negative way.
Complaint not upheld.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint and the advertisers’ response. They acknowledged that the advertisement focused on the more inconvenient aspects of jogging but considered it did so in an exaggerated and humorous manner, e.g. “Swallow a few raw eggs…Don’t forget to pack a band-aid for those blisters”. They also believed it was clear from the language used, including the line referenced in the advertisers’ response, i.e. “Ah no we’re just messing...Tips to lighten your morning commute” that the advertisement was tongue-in-cheek in nature and was not intended to be taken seriously.
On balance, the Committee did not consider that the advertisement actively disparaged jogging as a mode of transport in a serious manner. They did not consider it likely that commuters would be discouraged from jogging in favour of driving on the basis of the advertisement.
In the circumstances, the Committee did not consider the advertisement was in breach of the Code.
No action required.