In February, Honda released a fun, unique ad that challenged viewers speed reading skills as a way to introduce the brand’s new range of products and boast of its continuing innovation. But the Advertising Standards Authority, the U.K.’s advertising watchdog, has now banned the ad from TV because it says the ad also promotes fast, dangerous, irresponsible driving.
The spot, by Wieden+Kennedy London, is the TV adaptation of a series of web videos that creatively display a string of words onscreen in increasingly quick (about 500 words per minute) succession. The ASA’s investigation is the result of just two complaints that the spot encouraged dangerous or irresponsible driving. Its ruling says, “the fast changing on-screen text, references to ‘pushing yourself’ and ‘going faster,’ the scenes of the cars, sound effects and accompanying sound track was likely to leave viewers with the impression that speed was the central message of the ad. For those reasons, we therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code, which states that speed must not be the main message of an ad.”
Clearcast, a British NGO that consults with brands to help get ads cleared for broadcast by regulators, said in the ASA report that “the message of the ad was clear–the innovation of Honda’s new cars” and “the presentation of the cars did not condone or encourage dangerous driving due to the surreal nature of the ad.”
It’s a good thing for John Lewis no one complained Monty the Penguin promotes childhood hallucination.