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Advertiser: Renault Ireland
ASAI Code 7th Edition: 2.4(c), 3.2, 3.3, 3.16, 3.20
The television advertisement opens with a Renault Zoe car’s charging outlet being closed
and the car being started, showing the power range as 395km. The car is then shown being
driven through what appears to be a city, stopping at a drive thru restaurant and then
driving on an open country road. The car is then shown stopped at the side of a country
road where the male driver gets out of the car. The driver is then shown standing in front
of a tree as if they are urinating.
The voiceover stated:
“Introducing the new electric Renault Zoe. Europe’s best-selling electric vehicle since its
launch. Now with an incredible range of 395km’s, and all from a single charge. Meaning
you’ll have to stop before your Zoe does. The new Renault Zoe, electric for every day.”
Text on screen states:
“Model Shown: Renault Zoe GT Line RRP €31,990. Finance example: Renault Zoe Play
ZE 50. RRP €26,990. T&C’s apply. See Renault.ie WLTP values for comparative
purposes only, obtained using an electric vehicle battery.”
“Real world figure may vary depending on different factors. To verify, contact
“New Renault Zoe. Electric for every day from €26,990.”
Thirteen complaints were received objecting to the advertising on the following grounds:
Complainants considered that the image of the driver appearing to urinate in public was
Complainants considered that the advertisement was normalising urinating in public,
particularly to children and was subjecting children to unsuitable imagery.
The advertisers stated that they took their commitment to the ASAI Code extremely
seriously and that it was never their intention to offend, mislead or confuse consumers.
Issue 1 and 2
In response to the complaints at Issue 1, the advertisers stated that the creative idea around
the advertisement was that that the all-electric Renault ZOE had a fantastic new range of
395km, meaning a driver could travel much further than expected from a single charge.
They said that the voiceover states that because of the range on the ZOE, a driver may
need to stop long before the ZOE does.
The advertisers said that advertising often used humour and heightened reality to make a
point, and they considered that this advertisement was no different. They said that in their
case the advertisement, which has run in many countries, showed a couple of edits where people
were having to stop long before the car needed to. In this advertisement, they had shown a man
stopping his car miles from anywhere and that while a shot of him off in the distance beside a tree
was shown, they said that nothing explicit was shown. They saidthat the advertisement was not
intended as real life, but was intended as simply a tongue in cheek look at a situation where with
such a good mileage range, a driver might find themselves miles from an opportunity to stop where
they would have wished to stop.
They said that there was never any intention to promote any undesirable behaviour, rather
the intention was for consumers to purchase a more environmentally friendly product with
an improved range.
Complaint Upheld In Part.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaints and the advertisers’
Issue 1: Upheld:
The Complaints Committee noted that the advertisement had given rise to thirteen
complaints. The Committee noted that the advertisers’ intention had been to portray a
tongue in cheek scenario illustrating the car’s battery range. They considered however
that such behaviour, urinating in public, was not behaviour that Irish society considered to be acceptable. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertisement was
in breach of Sections 3.3 and 3.20 of the Code.
Issue 2: Upheld in Part:
The Complaints Committee noted that some complainants considered the advertisement
was subjecting children to unsuitable imagery and was normalising the behaviour of
urinating in public to children. The Committee noted that no explicit content had been
portrayed in the advertisement and that the driver was seen fully clothed, standing in
front of a tree. While the Committee noted the concerns raised, they did not consider
that the image of a man standing in front of a tree, fully clothed was explicit. The
Committee did, however, consider that, by showing the behaviour, viewers of the
advertisement, particularly children, could consider that it was acceptable to urinate in
public. In the circumstances the Committee considered that the advertisement was in
breach of 3.3 of the Code.
The advertisement must not reappear in its current form.