The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an advert for the R8 supercar – slamming Audi for “linking speed with excitement.”
The organisation, which regulates adverts across all media, was forced to investigate Audi’s television advert after one viewer complained that the advert was irresponsible.
The advert, shown on 15 April 2016, concentrated on the driver’s eyeball while the supercar was heard accelerating through its gears.
The pupil was shown contracting and dilating before the advert cut to a shot of the car going around a corner in a tunnel in slow motion, before returning to the eye. Text then appeared, stating “More focus, more drive. The all new Audi R8 V10 plus with carbon ceramic brakes”.
The final shot was of the car braking to a halt on what appeared to be a race track.
Adverts aren’t allowed to feature excessive speed as their main message, but Audi disputed that the ad linked speed with excitement.
It claimed that the advert was shot at speeds below 30mph, and the contracting and dilating pupil denoted concentration and focus rather than excitement.
In response to the complaint, Audi said: “The main message of the ad was that the new R8 was Audi’s most focused drive yet, with key features tuned to improve performance and an all-round improved driving experience.
“The ad was particularly intended to highlight the car’s carbon-ceramic brakes, the new, naturally aspirated engine (which gave a fuller and sharper sound), and the 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox.”
But the ASA concluded that “it was unclear from the visuals in the ad how fast the car was going,” and the heavy braking at the end of the advert wasn’t to promote the safety aspect of the car.
It also said that viewers would be likely to link the contracting and dilating pupil with the feeling of excitement, and as such linked speed with excitement.
The authority concluded that the advert breached social responsibility rules and ordered Volkswagen Group not to show it again – and to avoid similar issues in future adverts.