A promotional spot by Nissan Ireland during the ‘Love Hate’ series on RTE television offered viewers the chance to win a new Nissan Juke. The advertisement in conjunction with the competition featured a lone yellow Nissan Juke, being driven by a young man at high speed through a brightly lit cityscape at nigh time. The young man was accompanied by a female passenger.
The male voiceover referred to the following:
“Celebrating a new series of Love/Hate RTE and Nissan have teamed up to give you the chance to win a brand new, top of the range, Nissan Juke worth €28,000. This new sporty design is packed full of great features, with a personalised interior and exterior to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Plus there's €5,000 cash for your pocket too. For your chance to win the lot answer this…”
Details on how to enter the competition were then provided.
The complainant said that she considered the advertising to be irresponsible in its portrayal of a young couple driving through the city, at high speed, in a sports car. She said the fact that the advertisement featured directly after ‘Love Hate’ made it appear to be exciting, sexy and cool to drive at high speed and she considered the advertisers were irresponsible in promoting speeding, at a time when many young men were dying on our roads.
The advertisers said that the spot in question was a promotional one which involved a competition to win a Nissan Juke and ran exclusively in the RTE programme ‘Love Hate’, a programme that was transmitted during late peak airtime.
The advertisers said that the Nissan Juke was a crossover car and the vehicle featured in the advertisement was a 1.5 diesel, not a sports car. They said the car in question was driven through a computer generated cityscape, not a real city and no other vehicles had featured in the advertising. They said there had been no indication of speed as the computer generated background fell away rather than the car moving. They also said that Nissan Ireland would never endorse dangerous driving and would not broadcast any marketing communications that did so.
The Secretariat asked the Road Safety Authority (RSA) for their opinion on the advertisement. Having viewed the advertisement, their road safety driving experts concurred with the complainant’s view. They considered at one point the driver even appeared to be out of control and it was also unclear if he was wearing a safety belt.
They considered that the impression created by the advertisement was that it was okay to drive fast in an urban setting and even though there was no other traffic, it seemed reckless.
They concluded that overall the advertisement did not really portray socially responsible driving.
The Complaints Committee considered the detail of the complaint, the advertisers’ response and the opinion of the Road Safety Authority. They accepted that while it had not been the intention of the advertisers to condone unsafe driving practices, and that while the cityscape featured had been computer generated, it was inappropriate to show any vehicle being driven in a manner that created the impression of speed except in the context of promoting safety. The Committee considered that the advertising had breached Section 2.29 of the Code and upheld the complaint.