|Daily Telegraph - Friday 23 February, 2007
Hyundai tot ad banned
By Edith Bevan
AN award-winning TV commercial showing a toddler driving a four-wheel-drive has been pulled off the air.
The Advertising Standards Board said it had banned the ad for Hyundai's Sante Fe 4WD after more than 80 viewer complaints.
But Hyundai said the ad – an award winner in New Zealand where it was produced – had been "exceptionally popular" and that it was "disappointed" with the board's decision.
What do you think? Join our blogon the issue and watch the ad here.The ad shows the toddler driving the car, picking up a hitch-hiking girl of similar age, and taking her to a beach.
ASB Mark Jeanes said the ad depicted an illegal driving practice.
"The board acknowledged that the notion of a toddler driving a car was fanciful," he said.
"But under the Advertising for Motor Vehicles Voluntary Code of Practice, fantasy cannot be used when it contradicts, circumvents or undermines the code.
"Many of the complaints were from parents concerned that the ad would encourage copy-cat behaviour in young children and might lead to accidents."
The board also found that the fact the toddlers were wearing seatbelts – instead of approved child restraints – also breached safety recommendations.
Hyundai spokesman Richard Power said the ad was aimed at adults - and while it had a PG rating it was aired during the adult time slot of 8.30pm to midnight.
"The ad is aimed at adults and its blatant fantasy is the foil for the literal liberties taken in the driving sequences," Mr Power said.
"This is how most people have received it..a record 73 per cent according to an independently conducted poll of over 1000 Australian viewers, a result repeating its acceptance in New Zealand where it was originally produced and won the year's best ad award.
"Hyundai responded immediately to some initial concerns expressed about the ad airing during daytime – as permitted by its PG rating – and rescheduled it to the 8.30pm to midnight slot."
Hyundai would not be contesting the ruling by Advertising Standards Board, Mr Power said.
The Hyundai advertisement was not the only one considered inappropriate by the Board.
The use of language by advertisers was also an issue considered by the Board during its February meeting.
One case involved songs to the tune of Jingle Bells advertising a nasal delivery technology product to treat premature ejaculation.
The Board found phrases such as "premature ejaculation sucks" and the double-entendre "delivering the goods", to be offensive.
The Board ruled that the advertisement did not treat sexuality with adequate sensitivity for the audience.
"The phrases were used with a Christmas carol which the Board felt would attract children's attention to the ad, and to the sexual phrases," Mr Jeanes said.