Jaguar Land Rover ordered to pull misleading TV ads

Luxury car maker, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has been rapped by the advertising watchdog for a misleading TV ad.

The group, which has manufacturing sites in Merseyside and the West Midlands, screened two TV ads for Land Rover in February this year.

The first showed several Land Rovers driving in difficult terrain on an island. The ad ended with a Land Rover reverse parking on the edge of a cliff, using the vehicle’s parking sensor to guide them.

The second was a shortened version of the first, but featured the same scene of the Land Rover parking on the edge of a cliff.

Two viewers, who understood that parking sensors warned of objects behind the vehicle but not empty space, challenged whether the ads were misleading about what the parking sensor could provide.

JLR agreed that parking sensors would not warn of empty space behind the vehicle.

But the group believed that the side shots of the vehicle clearly showed that it was reversing towards a boulder, the size and height of which would have been picked up by the parking sensors.

However, the Advertising Standards Agency considered viewers would recognise that some of the scenes in the ads showed the vehicles driving in extreme off-road conditions, such as through waterfalls and across sand dunes, but that other scenes were more reminiscent of driving in towns and cities, and included features such as roads, traffic lights, a roundabout, a car wash and a parking sign.

The ASA also noted the tag line was “wherever you find yourself”. Therefore, while the ads showed the vehicles using their features and manoeuvring in extreme conditions, it considered viewers would see them as illustrating how the vehicles would perform in all environments, including everyday settings.

The ASA said: “We considered the ads focused on the reversing feature and included a scene with an in-car camera view. The camera was shown in ‘on-road’ mode and the sensor beeped as the vehicle approached the edge of the cliff over which the car would fall if the brakes were not applied.

“Although some small rocks were visible as the vehicle reversed, they appeared to be incidental to the scene and we considered it was not obvious that the parking sensor was reacting to the rocks rather than the edge of the cliff.

“We considered some viewers would, therefore, interpret that to mean that the car’s parking sensors could recognise when drivers might be reversing near a drop, which might include a smaller hill edge or a drop before water found in ‘on-road’ areas, both in urban and more rural settings.”

The ASA added that, because it understood the car’s parking sensors reacted to objects behind the vehicle, rather than to empty space such as a drop, and the rocks were not sufficiently prominent to counter that interpretation, it concluded that the ads misleadingly represented the parking sensor feature.

It ruled the ads breached BCAP Code rules (Misleading advertising) and (Motoring), and ordered the ads must not appear again in the forms complained of.

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