Toyota South Africa has been ordered to remove a television advertisement for its Hilux GR-Sport by the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB).
According to the ARB, the advertisement condones illegal behaviour and is also offensive to a sector of the population.
In case you missed the advert, it basically shows a GR-Sport driven enthusiastically in the dunes and ends with the driver coming across three meerkats who nod with him in approval.
ARB received two complaints. The complaint argues that the commercial promotes and encourages irresponsible driving, as well as illegal driving on sand dunes.
The second complaint states that the advertisement promotes off-road driving that is harmful to nature, especially small animal that live in sand dunes.
Toyota SA responded that the advertisement was not shot in an environmentally sensitive area. According to our sister publication, Car, the advertisement was actually shot at the Philippi Sand Mine adjacent to Mitchells Plain near Cape Town.
It also stated that its intention was not to depict or condone ecologically irresponsible driving. According to Toyota’s statement, the vehicle was driven on existing tracks and in the few places it wasn’t, they took extra care not to disturb the local fauna and flora.
The ARB ruled the advert breached Clause 3.3 of Section II, which basically states that you may not show anything that encourages irresponsible or illegal driving.
“Given that the illegal behaviour condoned by the advertisement relates to an issue about which many people feel strongly – the preservation of South African beaches from off-road drivers and the protection of the environment – the depiction of this activity is also offensive to a sector of the population,” ARB added in its ruling.