Matt Greenop on motoring

Matt Greenop is editor of Driven magazine

Matt Greenop: Wowsers at it again

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2013 Nissan Pulsar Photo / Supplied
2013 Nissan Pulsar Photo / Supplied

Those who read this page last week would be forgiven for thinking I'd been converted into a namby-pamby apologist for the politically correct.

This was a production issue brought on by a combination of jetlag and airline refreshments, and meant a story on the Advertising Standards Authority's decision over a Nissan advert ran instead of my actual opinion on it.

The authority said that showing a pregnant couple timing their runs to hospital "glamourised speeding". I don't know about you, but it doesn't make me want to try to set lap records around Starship. Seeing how long it takes to get to hospital is a strange scenario for an ad for a go-fast model of a hatchback, when a new SUV is a more likely purchase for expectant couples than a turbocharged hatch - but that's hardly relevant.

It did, according to the wisdom of Team ASA, breach the Code for Advertising Vehicles and wasn't "prepared with a due sense of social responsibility".

The ad supposedly "clearly depicted a time trial scenario which was consistent with glorifying speeding and therefore encouraged unsafe driving practices".

Sorry, but that's simply bollocks.

It's well-known around this industry that there are people who watch car ads, figure out where they've been filmed and time how long it takes to get along the route travelled in the ad. And if it looks like the car was travelling a single digit above the posted speed limit, they engage Whingeing Wowser Mode and complain to everybody who will listen. Annoying people to this degree are, in my book, not socially responsible either.

The guts of the matter is this: most people have brains, don't believe everything they see on telly, and aren't going to buy Pulsar SSSs on the strength of a TV ad and terrorise their neighbourhoods.

It's fair enough that ads shouldn't show people going nuts on public roads - but when it's something as innocuous as Nissan's ad, it's always surprising when people bleat to the authorities. Maybe the ASA were the only folk who would listen.

I wonder what would have been said about Crumpy's bush-bashing exploits in those old Hilux ads?

- NZ Herald

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