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Jaguar mobile hands-free technology ad banned for promoting unsafe driving

Tyrone Stewart

An ‘irresponsible’ Jaguar Land Rover ad has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) because it could potentially encourage unsafe driving.

The advertorial, seen on 24 September 2016 in the Guardian, was advertising the Jaguar XE’s wi-fi connectivity, smartphone integrated apps and its voice-controlled infotainment systems.

“The car is increasingly becoming an extension of the work place [sic]. What was once a cocoon of time in limbo is being transformed into productive reclaimed time. Cleverly integrated in-car systems - such as those found in the latest Jaguar XE - let you work on the move without compromising safety,” the advert text stated.

“The combination of smart technology built in to the car, and vehicle optimised smartphone apps, can help … organise your next meeting and stay in touch with colleagues and family while on the move … Wi-Fi connectivity - invaluable in transforming what would otherwise be downtime in a traffic jam or long hours on a motorway.”

This ad received three complaints – two to the ASA and one to the Guardian – but both Jaguar and the Guardian were adamant that the ad did not encourage dangerous driving because it, in fact, emphasised the importance of not compromising safety.

Despite the appeals of both parties, the ASA deemed that the ad could promote unsafe driving – though it accepted that driving whilst using hands-free technology ‘was not, of itself, illegal’.

The ASA’s ruling says: “Whilst we understood that the work-related activities and communicating with family could be carried out in the car via hands-free technology, we considered that they were likely to distract a driver’s attention from the road and therefore preventing them from having full control of the vehicle. Therefore, we concluded that the advertorial was irresponsible because it was likely to encourage unsafe driving practices.”

As a result of the decision, the advert cannot appear again in its current form, and Jaguar have been told to make sure its advertising no longer encourages unsafe driving practices.