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by Tim Beissmann

A risqué new commercial for the Abarth 500 could be banned from television in the US and does not comply with Australian advertising regulations.

But while it’s the provocative antics of the racy Italian woman that are likely to get the attention of moderators across the Pacific, it’s the final seven seconds of enthusiastic driving that makes it unsuitable for Australian consumers.

Edward Rowe from Abarth’s Australian distributor Ateco Automotive said Abarth Australia looked at the ad but decided it would not be legal to show on our screens. He said it did not comply with Australian standards because the hot hatch was shown sliding across an intersection and performing a handbrake turn on public roads.

A number of US media outlets have speculated that their country’s strict views on sexually suggestive content would likely see the commercial disallowed by television regulators.

Despite the intimate scenes, Rowe said the ad agreed with Abarth Australia’s brand philosophy and could have been a chance to air if not for the aggressive driving sequence. “Absolutely. It fits in totally with the Abarth image of ‘small but wicked’ which is used globally,” he said.

Abarth Australia does not currently advertise on television, so far opting to market its Fiat-based products in print and online.

Rowe said Abarth Australia’s product range was unlikely to expand beyond the 500 Esseesse and the recently released 500C Esseesse in 2012. He said the hard-top would remain manual-only while the soft-top would only be offered with the semi-automatic paddle-shift transmission, as Abarth believed they were the “ideal transmissions” for the respective buyer groups

What do you think of the ad? Do you find the first half offensive, or the second half dangerously suggestive? Let us know in the comments section below.




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