Ford Mustang Ads Pulled for Stimulating Impure Thoughts

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
ford mustang ads pulled for stimulating impure thoughts

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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  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
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  • Zipper69 Does it REALLY have to be a four door?Surely a truly compact vehicle could stick with the half-door access with jump seats for short term passengers.
  • ToolGuy See kids, you can keep your old car in good condition.