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Woke advertising rules ban car advert for ‘condoning driving that was harmful to the environment’

An advertising watchdog has banned two car adverts after the manufacturer was accused of showing no regard for the environmental impact.

The clip, which showed Toyota’s new Hilux pick-up truck being driven off-road, was pulled down on Facebook.

It also included a number of the all-terrain vehicles travelling in unison across a wide open plain

The cars drove with mountains either side and over a river bed before joining a tarmacked road.

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Campaign group Adfree Cities complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after alleging the adverts are irresponsible for “condoning behaviour that was harmful to the environment”.

During the now-deleted Facebook post, a voiceover actor said: “One of nature’s true spectacles,” and “Toyota Hilux. Born to Roam”.

Following the complaint from the lobbying group, Toyota explained that the video was filmed in Slovenia on private land with permission.

Toyota’s public advertisement posters for the vehicle were also pulled.

The Japanese car manufacturer described its use of multiple vehicles as “clearly fantastical” and argued it would prevent consumers emulating the advertisement by driving in large numbers in the wild.


The Japanese car manufacturer described its use of multiple vehicles as “clearly fantastical” and argued it would prevent consumers emulating the advertisement by driving in large numbers in the wild


Toyota said it believed no reasonable viewer would have understood the advert as encouraging UK consumers to drive irresponsibly or caused environmental harm.

The Hilux is priced pre-VAT at £27,185 in the UK and is predominantly bought by business operators.

ASA sided with Adfree Cities, saying: “The ads presented and condoned the use of vehicles in a manner that disregarded their impact on nature and the environment.”

It added: “As a result, they had not been prepared with a sense of responsibility to society.”

The public advertisement was also pulled

The public advertisement was also pulled


ASA also ruled the advertisements must not appear again.

Explaining its decision, it said: “We told Toyota to ensure their future marketing communications contained nothing that was likely to encourage irresponsible behaviour towards the environment.”

Veronica Wignall, co-director at Adfree Cities, added: “More and more SUVs are being sold on a false promise of rugged adventure, exploiting imagery of the natural world.

“In reality, SUVs are harming nature, polluting our air, clogging up our cities and causing tragic loss of life.

“This ruling is welcome but regulation of SUV adverts is not enough; the promotion of SUVs should be terminated altogether.”




Responding to the debacle, a spokesperson for Toyota said: “Toyota does not condone behaviour 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, 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.

“The vehicle footage in this instance was obtained in a non-UK location, on private land, with all necessary permissions, in a non-ecologically sensitive environment.

“The static image used in the display ad was CGI, having no environmental impact on that land.”

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