The UK gets a bit of a harsh stereotype. Allegedly, we’ve got bad teeth, drive on the “wrong side of the road” and are very reserved (apparently, that’s a bad thing). We also call ads or TV commercials “adverts.” We may be odd, but believe it or not, we can kick “bottom” when we feel like it. Now I could point to the Burning of Washington, but I’ve been advised by Führer Schmitt that this may be “too soon,” and could “hurt their feelings.” Nor will I point to Waterloo or the Iranian Embassy Siege. What I’m pointing to is the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). They are quite a rabid bunch. If they don’t like something, they’ll kick its bottom and ban it. Like this advert, or this one. They’re also quite hard on automotive adverts, too. In 2007, the ASA banned an advert from Toyota about the Prius for being “misleading” (you can watch the advert here). And now, Renault is copping it in the neck (as we fancy to say.)
Campaign, the must read in the British propaganda industry, reports that Renault has their legs smacked by the ASA for an advert which claimed “zero emissions” from Renault’s electric cars. The voiceover in the advert says: “For us, global warming goes beyond the emissions coming out of the exhaust. It’s an issue we address before, during and after manufacture. From next year, Renault will launch a range of zero-emission vehicles to drive the car forward again.” Unfortunately, 17 people complained that whilst the electric vehicles themselves emit nothing, the advert didn’t take into account the overall life of the vehicle (A.K.A: the “Prius Vs Hummer” debate). Renault responded by saying that if the car were charged from renewable sources, then their statement could stand. Not so, the ASA said. Since the advert was made for the UK, the energy sources have to come from the UK national grid, therefore, CO2 emissions would be inevitable. Boy, are they ever.
Another complaint about the advert was that the advert gave the impression that the production, use and disposal of the car would produce no emissions and will have no detrimental effect on the environment. This complaint was upheld. The advert was banned, but after some hasty cuts, the advert was deemed broadcastable. I wonder if “Mad Men” ever have this trouble….?
PS: The advert hasn’t made it on YouTube (yet …) so we aim to entertain you with an allegedly banned allegedly German advert for a Renault.