'You can't show any behaviour on a TV ad that would be illegal on a government road'.
The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) has promised to review current automotive advertising standards, after complaints from a long-time road-safety activist.
Harold Scruby, Pedestrian Council of Australia chief executive, recently raised concerns about Ford's latest Ranger Raptor campaign, which involves the pumped-up dual-cab running at high speed off-road. The ute also gets airborne throughout the ad.
Speaking with Neil Mitchell on 3AW, the outspoken road-safety campaigner suggested the ad "is all about dangerous driving and speed".
"You can't show any behaviour on a TV ad that would be illegal on a government road," he told the radio host.
The code doesn't allow for "unsafe driving, including reckless and menacing driving that would breach... the law of any state or territory", with provisions for off-road driving as well.
According to Scruby, the problem extends beyond just the Raptor advertisement – and international ads are, apparently, at its core.
“The problem is international ads have been allowed on our TVs,” he said. “They bring them in, they know it takes four weeks for a complaint to be reviewed and they know within three weeks the campaign is over."
A spokesperson from the FCAI said the "Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising is periodically reviewed. Given it has been five years since the last review, the FCAI will consider a further review at an appropriate time".
The code was developed in 2002, and was last reviewed in 2013. In past, it's seen advertisements for the BMW i3 and Lexus LC500 pulled from the air for offences as small as describing cars as a beast.
There are some ways to get around the code, though. The new Volkswagen Amarok Ultimate 580 is currently being advertised with a tongue-in-cheek campaign that leaves just enough to the imagination...