Currently reading: Volkswagen Polo advert banned for ‘encouraging irresponsible driving’
Advert showing an accident-prone driver being saved by the Polo’s safety systems has been banned in the UK by the Advertising Standards Agency

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned a Volkswagen Polo television advertisement for encouraging irresponsible driving, which represents a breach of the industry watchdog’s code. 

Six complaints were filed about the advert, alleging that the advert encourages dangerous driving and exaggerated the benefits of the safety systems being showcased. The ASA upheld the complaints, and ruled that the ad must not appear in its current form. 

The ad (above) breached rules 20.1 and 20.5 of the ASA's code, which assert “Advertisements must not condone or encourage dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving or motorcycling,” and “Motoring advertisements must not exaggerate the benefits of safety features to consumers.” 

Multiple factors led to the decision, said the ASA, including the nervous disposition of the passenger in the featured car, and the "loud indie rock soundtrack", which “contributed to the impression that the driver was irresponsible".

In defence of its advert, Volkswagen said that the car was not driven in a dangerous way, and that no dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving was condoned. Instead, Volkswagen said, the clumsy driver in the advert had passed his test but was inexperienced, hence his father’s nervous reactions. 

"We concluded that the dependency on the advanced safety systems exaggerated the vehicle’s safety features and the overall tone of the advert encouraged irresponsible driving and was in breach of the code," said the ASA.

The ASA previously banned an advert issued by BMW about the M760Li xDrive which allegedly making speed the focus of the advert. The M760Li is the fastest-accelerating car in BMW's history, taking 3.7sec to reach 62mph. 

Read more:

Peugeot is putting an end to the boring TV car advert

What's your most memorable car advert? Here's my list

Misleading Toyota Prius advert banned

BMW M760Li xDrive advert banned by advertising watchdog


Read our review

Car review

Volkswagen’s ever-sensible supermini gets even more grown-up as the Polo hits its fifth decade, but can it take top honours?

Join the debate

Add a comment…
catnip 1 August 2018

I hadn't seen this ad for the

I hadn't seen this ad for the Porky Polo, but now I have I think they were right to ban it. Unfortunately, I think many drivers do rely on these safety systems, rather than see them as assistance when things go wrong. Concentrating on your driving and whats going on around you seems secondary, especially when there is the allure your mobile phone, central touchscreen and wifi conectivity. Even some motoring journalists go along with this: I remember reading a Volvo long term review in a rival weekly mag where the tester complained about the blind spot warning system, moaning that he sometimes had to look for himself.

max1e6 1 August 2018

Car manufacturers should be

Car manufacturers should be able to advertise their products in any way they feel like.

It is just an advertisement. It is not real life.

We need to get rid of this nanny state. They are a bunch of killjoys.

Peter Cavellini 1 August 2018

Getting it right....

Hi max 1 e6@ , it’s because we’re so super critical,so PC  these Days,and with the suing culture we have now advertising has to cover all the legal side, so, although it’s portrayed as a growing up thing, the thing we come across upon, trusting the autonomous tech shouldn’t be alluded to as saving the situation, it’s the Drivers responsibility.....

Peter Cavellini 1 August 2018

About time....!

 Always thought that when I saw it.....