The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), UK has banned an advert from Honda Motors called ‘Keep Up’ ruling that the ad has been banned from being broadcast in its current form where speed the central element.
ASA received two different complaints about the advert: first, claiming that the advertisement encouraged dangerous or irresponsible driving and that speed was a central element to the ad; and second, the advertisement encouraged users to break speed limits.
In its defense, Honda said that the it created the advertisement to inspire people to push their perceived limits using a speed-reading technique. In doing so, it challenged viewers to push themselves through speed-reading to catch up with the increased speed of the text appearing on screen. Honda said any reference, explicit or otherwise, to speed did not relate to anything other than speed-reading the on-screen text.
Honda said they took great care to ensure that any messaging about the cars was not related to speed, for example the claim “push to reach new places” was about exploration; “push to do new things” was about freedom; and “push to a new kind of forwards” was about the Type R, Honda’s most advanced car.
However, this didn’t bode well with the ASA. It upheld the first complaint and noted the complainant’s concern that the speed of the cars was a central element of the ad. The clips of the cars which appeared to show them moving at speed were coupled with sound effects and on top of that viewers were unlikely to interpret the fast changing text which appeared throughout the ad to be a speed-reading challenge; rather it was one likely to play on a general theme of speed.
The authority however didn’t upheld the second complaint concluding that the advert did not demonstrate the handling characteristics of the company’s vehicles or condone or encourage unsafe or irresponsible driving.
“The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Honda Motor Europe Ltd to ensure they did not make speed the central element of their advertising”, ASA ruled.