Toyota Australia’s marketing department is in hot waters after the local advertising regulators deemed a Yaris commercial too dangerous to air on media channels. To promote the regular supermini together with its hot hatch GR counterpart and the high-riding Yaris Cross, the best-selling automaker Down Under launched the ad above a few months ago.
It’s about three siblings rushing over to their parents’ 30th anniversary, with the man working on a Celica hopping in his GR Yaris to make it to the appointment in time. Apparently, storming out of the garage and going just a tad bit sideways “promotes speeding and may influence people to speed which is very dangerous.” Consequently, it violates two parts of the Federal Chamber for Automotive Industries Motor Vehicle Advertising Code: breaking the speed limit and unsafe driving.
Toyota Australia has no other way but to modify the ad if it wants to air it again across media channels, and while it “takes the opinion of the complainant very seriously,” it doesn’t agree with the ruling. The company has issued an official reply saying the commercial does not contravene any laws and regulations related to community roads and driving standards. In addition, Toyota argues the Yaris ad does not violate the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries code.
Car Expert reports Australia’s Advertising Standards Bureau has reviewed the problematic commercial, and their verdict was that it didn't promote speeding. However, it encourages “unsafe driving” due to the GR Yaris’ brief loss of traction after it heads out of the garage in a hurry.
It’s actually not the first Yaris commercial to receive the ban hammer as Toyota UK had to take down an ad in 2014 after the local advertising regulators said it promoted dangerous driving. People were dancing, singing, and driving at the same time with Bruno Mars’ Locked Out Of Heaven playing in the background.
Do you think ad regulators are exaggerating or the decision is justified? Either way, this is a case when the saying “any publicity is good publicity” applies.