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Racy Suzuki Swift Sport advert pulled

Advertising watchdog upholds complaints that Suzuki commercial is “irresponsible”

18 Apr 2012

SUZUKI Australia has been forced to edit a racy television commercial for its new Swift Sport hot hatch following complaints lodged with the Advertising Standards Bureau.

The advertisement, which was launched in February following the car’s Australian launch, was found to have breached the code that forbids the promotion of reckless or unsafe driving.

The commercial shows a young couple driving the car around an empty multi-story car park, and includes close-ups of both the accelerator being pushed and the resultant revs of the tachometer.

A complaint made about the advertisement said that “the ad conveys the wrong messages to young drivers deeming it responsible to drive at breakneck speed through a multi-storey car park”.

The Bureau upheld this, noting that “the combination of the firm depression of the accelerator pedal, the increase in engine revs and the sped-up footage combine to give an overall impression of reckless speed”.

The commercial also shows the roof-mounted sprinklers in the car park going off, a close-up of the scantily clad female passenger’s chest and a small skid at the end.

The Bureau rejected complaints that the ad was sexist or gratuitous.

“Whilst it is not necessary for the woman to be wearing a low-cut dress, the dress is not inappropriate attire for a woman,” the Bureau said.

“Most members of the community would consider the brief focus on the woman’s chest to be gratuitous, but in the context of the advertisement (fanning herself to keep cool because the car drive is “hot”) is not inappropriate.”

Suzuki Australia responded to the complaints by arguing that the advertisement was in line with its focus on style and appearance, and that the core objective of the campaign was to make the Sport “stylish and aspirational”.

The company also cited the five-star ANCAP rating attained by the car as proof that it took vehicle safety seriously.

“At no point are there any depictions of unsafe, reckless or menacing driving that would breach any Commonwealth or State laws,” it said in the statement.

“We confirm that throughout the filming of the advertisement, the vehicle was always being driven at or below the speed limits in the car park and there are no indications to suggest otherwise.

“We confirm that all passengers were correctly wearing their seatbelts at all times and there was no illegal use of mobile phones.”

Suzuki Australia communications manager Andrew Ellis told GoAuto today that the company had agreed to modify the ad, removing the footage of the throttle, tachometer and the little fishtail from the footage before it returns to air next week on both free and pay TV.

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