The Toyota GR Yaris has caught the attention of the advertising standards authority in Australia, after it received a complaint about a TV commercial that depicted the hot hatch experiencing a momentary loss of traction as it drove out of a shed on a private property.
The television advertisement – which Toyota Australia says has now run its course, but will be modified if it is broadcast again – depicts three siblings being late to their parent's house, and their attempts to get there in three different types of Yaris (a hatchback, an SUV, and the high-performance GR).
One sibling is driving from the city, one from the beach, and one from the country. The Toyota GR Yaris is depicted as being driven by the brother out of a farm shed, and the rear tyres appear to momentarily break traction in the dirt.
The Toyota GR Yaris is then driven along a dirt road inside the property's fence line.
Despite these precautions, the Australian Advertising Standards Board noted a scene in the advertisement "showing a white vehicle leaving a shed and appearing to lose traction in the back tyres".
The Australian Advertising Standards Board "considered that the action of losing traction in the rear of the vehicle would be considered to be a loss of control of the vehicle" and "considered that the advertisement did depict the vehicle engaging in unsafe (driving) which would be likely to breach relevant law were it to occur on a road or road-related area."
Toyota has stopped running the advertisement after it reached the end of its schedule, and the company says it will modify the advertisement – if it were to be broadcast again.
The finding against the Toyota GR Yaris commercial may seem harsh, however vehicle advertisements in Australia are bound by a voluntary code of practice, which was drafted by the car industry's lobby group, the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.
While cars can't be shown being driven at excessive speed, or breaking any road rules, the same regulations do not apply to music video, TV shows, movies – and TV ads that promote other TV shows.
For example, in recent years TV shows in Australia have used footage of cars doing burnouts (with passengers waving their arms out the window), and numerous music videos have shown passengers sitting on the bootlids of classic American convertibles (clearly not wearing seatbelts).
There are many other examples of illegal driving on TV (car chases and TV news footage), however that footage is exempt. Only car company TV advertisements fall under the strict code.
Let us know in the comments if you think the Toyota GR Yaris commercial below breached community standards and should be amended.