Toyota’s ad for the GR Series car has been banned after a watchdog ruled the promotional campaign “condoned and encouraged unsafe and irresponsible driving.”
It appeared on the Guardian and the i between April and May, and ad depicts three cars driving close to one another on a country road, with a text at the top saying ‘THAT GR FEELING.’
At the bottom, it states: “Precise. Balanced. Playful. It’s this elusive combination that delivers the heart-pumping excitement of the Toyota GR Series. Pure performance cars, born from Toyota Gazoo Racing. And now on a road near you.”
According to the Advertising Standards Authority’s (ASA) verdict, the campaign could entice drivers to “push the boundaries of safe driving by speeding or engaging in other unsafe driving behaviours such as, in the context of the image, racing or driving very close to other cars.”
Complainants about the Toyota advert included the Worthing Green Party.
The car manufacturer defended it saying readers would not misinterpret the ‘GR’ in the headline as a growling sound – which could evoke a car’s roaring engine – but they would read it phonetically and relate it to the vehicle’s model.
“Toyota’s GR range of vehicles is developed alongside a team of expert engineers at its Gazoo Racing division – a specialist engineering and research and development team which has a 60 year heritage of working to a philosophy of developing ever better cars,” said a Toyota spokesperson.
“The use of the initials GR is a naming convention, denoting the link to this halo engineering division.”
City A.M. has approached the Guardian and the i’s publisher, Associated Newspapers, for comment.