By on October 24, 2018

Image: 2018 Ford Mustang

While I certainly don’t question their dedication to preserving freedom, one wonders what the Allied soldiers crossing the Channel in 1944 would have thought about the United Kingdom of 2018.

Let’s just say that British law is somewhat strict — especially in minor, unlikely areas of life. Going by the select media reports that make their way stateside as online outrage food, it would seem that, according to British lawmakers, danger lurks everywhere in a land where people once treated nightly bombing raids as a mundane form of weather.

Thanks to this new culture of safety and tolerance, a culture where the police encourages people to report when they’ve been offended on Twitter, car commercials can be pulled from airwaves after generating the wrong kind of feelings in certain viewers.

Take two Ford commercials as an example. According to the BBC (credit to The Drive), the country’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) banned two Mustang ads after Ford’s use of a pulse-pounding … poem … got 12 pairs of knickers in a twist.

The ads carried the tagline “Don’t Go Gently” — a reference to the 1951 Dylan Thomas poem that begins with, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” Another line from the poem is spoken and printed over nearly dystopian scenes of office drudgery. “Rage against the dying of the light,” the ad implores the viewer as a vivid yellow Mustang fires up in an underground parking garage and growls its way up to street level. The ad ends with our yellow Mustang rumbling along an urban street at what seems to be the speed limit. There’s no peel-out, no strips of rubber, no choking cloud of tire smoke.

According to the BBC report, in defending its ad, Ford claimed it aimed to portray the Mustang as “the antidote to a dull life,” adding that its use of the word “rage” was not meant to encourage angry or unsafe driving. There’s no road rage to be seen in the commercial, the automaker said. The ASA, which may or may not be made up of people with asses as stiff as the country’s famed upper lip, wasn’t having any of it. Those office workers were releasing pent-up anger and frustration with their jobs and lives, the ad cops said, and Ford hammered this point home with its use of the iconic poem. Thus, Ford encouraged motorists “to drive in an aggressive manner.”

Thank goodness The Prisoner left the airwaves 50 years ago. The intro might have led to mayhem, riots, perhaps even pregnancy. Just to be safe, maybe Ford should bring back the Consul, Anglia, and Prefect to appease the UK’s worries about excessive speed.

The automaker can at least take solace in the fact it wasn’t singled out. The ASA also banned ads from Nissan and Fiat for similar impressions (or suggestions) of speed. In the Nissan spot, a vehicle’s automatic emergency braking saves the life of a wayward pedestrian, leaving both the harried driver and bystander free to go about their lives. While Nissan claimed the vehicle in the ad travelled at the speed limit, the ASA said the automaker didn’t make that fact explicit. It added that the ad “implied the character had increased the speed of the vehicle because they were in a rush.”

Phew. Bullet dodged for the UK’s sensitive audiences. After the bannings, life went back to normal; Britain’s dual carriageways continue carrying countrypeople (use of the word “men” would be sexist) towards their glorious, stimulation-free futures.

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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33 Comments on “Ford Mustang Ads Pulled for Stimulating Impure Thoughts...”


  • avatar
    IBx1

    Remember when English TV was far more risque than American TV in both programming and commercials? I think this is the last bubble to pop in the collapsed souffle of the British Empire.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Benny Hill, anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      They call themselves “free world”. I heard they banned term “fake news”. I think, they turned into USSR in a way of censorship. they created perfect soil for seeds of mass resistance that might burn their empire into ashes

    • 0 avatar

      Oh, it still is…we saw full frontal male and female on a “naked dating show”….fear not, sex is on full display…

      As is the Nanny State: I was in Scotland, so I wanted some….scotch. (imagine that). The barkeep gave me a tiny, tiny shot of scotch and gave it to me. Surprise ! In an effort to reduce alcohol use, they defined the standard shot as 25 ml. A standard US shot glass is 44 ml, so it was about half a shot. A Pint of the lovely Scots ales is 4 or 5 %. Taxes make a high gravity ale too expensive. We learned that you have to ask for a “50” to get a full shot, as they can sell multiples of 25….but the key is that they seek to reduce drinking by reducing the size of the shot. I read a funny ariticle about how the govt was surprised that people at home would pour a larger shot than the standard 25….uh huh.

      We visited a distillery, and we were told a story about one festival where you build bonfires…and now, we can’t do that because of “health and safety”.

      Likewise, the scameras you see all over the UK are motivated by the same philosophy.

      Classic Top Gear used to needle the Nanny State….and now I ‘get it’

      A Game Show where men and women are rated naked “neck down” ? No problem !

      • 0 avatar
        WallMeerkat

        Some Scottish bars will sell Irish measures, which are 35ml.

        If you want 50ml in a 25ml bar ask for a ‘double’. You’ll pay 2x for the drink though.

        UK beer tends to be 4%, as people have a tendency to drink about a dozen pints, rather than sup 1 or 2.

  • avatar
    Detroit-Iron

    I’m pretty sure that commercial was a hate crime.

  • avatar
    hubcap

    I’d think the bureaucrats would want to keep a commercial that encourages a bit of speed in citizens’ daily drives. What better way to fleece them with speed cameras and such.

  • avatar
    cicero1

    England is in trouble, but there is hope – see Brexit (and avoid londstabistan)

    as to the Mustang, are they still making them in NYC taxi cab orange – worst color on a Stang possible. Lambo bright orange would be one thing, drab taxi orange is another.

  • avatar
    deanst

    If I was Ford, I’d do another commercial shot entirely in shades of beige showing the bureaucrats slowly driving to work and then applying a “BAN” stamp on every commercial application. The tag line at the end would be “for the real story, visit FORD UK you tube channel.”

    I thought Canada was bad for insufferable bureaucrats saving us from ourselves.

    • 0 avatar
      cognoscenti

      Y’all canucks don’t get to complain any more about your “insufferable bureaucrats” – you just LEGALIZED WEED IN THE WHOLE COUNTRY!

      In other news, border crossings between the US and Canada are currently very busy.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    This is why a big company should be run by one single irascible, iron-willed nut.

  • avatar

    I’m not normally a Ford guy, but that orange Mustang is definitely giving me impure thoughts.

    Also Britain is screwed.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Although here in America we encourage sometimes reckless individualism the rest of the world frowns on it. In Great Briton everyone knows their place and are told from youth to accept it and carry on. Independent thinking and social mobility are strongly discouraged. I’d hate to be British

    God save the Queen… From or for what I have no idea

  • avatar
    MerlinV12

    I bet they would love that Dodge ad from a few years ago: George Washington in a Challenger, chasing horrified redcoats.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Ford should use this ban to their advantage. How about the slogan “Ford Mustang the brand that Bureaucrats ban.” “Drive a Mustang and upset a Bureaucrat” Fade out with a Mustang driving into the sunset leaving the electric Smart cars behind with their owners stranded needing a charge but following the Government mandate. That would be the perfect ad because if the Bureaucrats banned that they would be prohibiting free speech.

  • avatar
    Number6

    So what’s worse? hair-trigger censorship or brain numbing denial of reality? the end result is exactly the same. Except one country has a standard of living that’s been in decline for nearly forty years. I’ll leave it for the brain dead to push back against the obvious.

    And thanks for the prisoner reference.

  • avatar
    AoLetsGo

    Another working day has ended
    Only the rush hour hell to face
    Packed like lemmings into shiny metal boxes
    Contestants in a suicidal race
    Daddy grips the wheel and stares alone into the distance
    He knows that something somewhere has to break
    He sees the family home now looming in the headlights
    The pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache

  • avatar
    FThorn

    Top Gear / Grand Tour was NUMBER ONE because of the push back against such things. Men need to be unrestricted, it would appear ! :)

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    They banned a Toyota advert from a few years ago which showed a GT86 being driven in a GrandTheftAuto-like fashion.

  • avatar
    northeaster

    I suppose if you drive fast, but quote Shakespeare at the same time and contribute to a positive trade balance you’re allowed a pass.

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