The United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority has banned two Toyota Hilux advertisements, claiming they lack “a sense of responsibility to society.” This is also the first time the ASA has banned a truck ad for not being socially responsible enough environmentally, the Guardian reports.
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The video in question shows several dozen Hilux trucks driving off-road and crossing a river before getting back on a paved road and driving through a city. The second ad, a poster, focuses on two trucks cresting a hill and throwing up dirt, while a large number of trucks follow in the background. According to the ASA, those ads “condoned the use of vehicles in a manner that disregarded their impact on nature and the environment … they had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society.”
An advocacy group called Adfree Cities was behind the complaint and was joined by a second group known as Badvertising. In a statement, Adfree Cities co-director Veronica Wignall said, “These adverts epitomise [sic] Toyota’s total disregard for nature and the climate, by featuring enormous, highly polluting vehicles driving at speed through rivers and wild grasslands.” She later added, “It’s a cynical use of nature to promote something incredibly nature-damaging.”
A Toyota spokesperson told the Guardian:
Toyota does not condone behaviour [sic] that is harmful to the environment. In fact, over the course of the past three decades, not only has Toyota been one of the leaders in the automotive field in terms of carbon emissions reduction across its vehicle offering, it has shared hundreds of royalty-free licences [sic], allowing others to use its electrification technology.
As part of its wide range of global vehicle offerings, Toyota caters for customers who require a mobility option for reliable use in the harshest of terrains – those people who operate in off-road and remote settings.
They also claimed that the video was shot outside the UK on private land “in a non-ecologically sensitive environment” and that the poster was a computer-generated image.
Also, while it’s very much not the main point of the article, it’s a little weird to see the Hilux referred to as an SUV the entire time. Language evolves, and there’s no point in getting mad about someone calling a crossover an SUV simply because it’s not body-on-frame, but when has anyone other than the Guardian called a truck an SUV? Is that just a British thing that we’re not used to in America? The British do plenty of other weird things, so it wouldn’t be the most surprising thing to ever happen, but still. That’s weird, right?