The ASA Directorate considered all the relevant documentation submitted by the respective parties.
The respondent submitted that prior to the production of the commercial it engaged with the ASA regarding the depiction of skateboarders.
It should be noted that the ASA is not mandated to offer a copy advice on advertising. It is only the Association for Communication and Advertising (ACA) that may offer a copy advice to the advertiser, and the Respondent therefore would not have "engaged with the ASA”. The ASA is not bound by the ACA’s opinion or copy advice.
Clause 13 of Section II states that advertisements should not without reason, justifiable on educational or social grounds, contain any visual presentation or any description of dangerous practices or of situations which show a disregard for safety. Special care should be taken in advertisements directed towards or depicting children or young people.
The commercial shows skateboarders riding alongside the Qashqai motor vehicle until it comes to a stop.
The complainant submitted that the vehicle encourages youth to use skateboarders on public roads which could lead to tragic consequences.
In Toyota Auris / C Robinson / 12419 (1 December 2008)
it was held, inter alia, that "while the advertisement depicts an act that is considered to be part of skateboard culture or lifestyle, it shows an unsafe practice and disregard for safety…”. The same reasoning applies in this matter. The Respondent argued that it showed that the roads were closed off, thereby creating a safe environment. The road closure elements and signage only appear at the end of the commercial. It is firstly not clear that the entire road has been closed off and that that is the only reason the car and skateboarders are using it. It in fact seems that the skateboarders stop when they reach a road closure, not that they are within a closed area.
The Directorate is also not convinced that even if it had been clear that the activity was in an enclosed area, that the depicted behavior would be safe. It still shows skateboarders sharing a road with a car and skating extremely close to the car – an activity that is inherently unsafe. In addition, there is nothing in the execution that gives any indication that this is an unsafe activity that should, at best, be undertaken by professionals and carefully. It is portrayed as a fun activity that any group of friends could consider.
Given that skateboarding is a popular sport for young people, the Directorate considers that the requirements for a breach of Clause 13 have been met, in that the commercial depicts an unsafe behavior and that special care should be taken in relation to the depiction of young people.
Given the above, the advertisement is in contravention of Clause 13 of Section II of the Code.
In light of the above finding:
- The commercial must be withdrawn;
- The process to withdraw the commercial must be actioned with immediate effect on receipt of ruling;
- The withdrawal of the commercial must be completed within the deadlines stipulated by Clause 15.3 of the Procedural Guide; and
- The commercial may not be used again in its current format.
In light of the above decision, it is not necessary for the Directorate to consider the Clause 14 of Section II of the Code at this stage.
The complaint is upheld.