13 January 2022
Land Rover have always promoted the fact that that their vehicles can go anywhere. But can they really?
‘Go anywhere… Do anything’. It’s a phrase that’s associated with the Series I 80 inch dating back to their adverting campaigns in 1948 and has been synonymous with the Defender ever since. Promoting the merits of its versatility has now recently come under scrutiny however, after environmental campaigners accused the UK advertising watchdog of bias for overturning a draft ruling that banned adverts for a mud-splattered Land Rover Defender after previously saying it encouraged “socially irresponsible” driving that could “cause damage to vulnerable habitats”.
The national newspaper ad featured a Defender in a forest with the headline “Life is so much better without restrictions” accompanied by the text “capacity to go almost anywhere and do anything. If you take one for an extended test drive … a whole new world of freedom awaits”.
The Advertising Standards Authority received 96 complaints, claiming that the ad was socially irresponsible for condoning behaviour that could destroy ecologically sensitive environments. JLR said that the vehicle was depicted on an established track in a forest and was focused on increased freedom after the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, not irresponsible driving behaviour.
In the draft recommendation shared with complainants, the ASA, ruled the ad should be banned, saying “the overall impression of the ad suggested that the vehicle could be driven without any restrictions, including in ecologically sensitive and off-road environments such as forests, where in doing so it would be likely to cause damage to vulnerable habitats and vegetation, and was therefore socially irresponsible.” However, its final ruling reversed the draft recommendation and cleared the ad of breaking any UK advertising rules, saying that advertisers should “take care” when depicting vehicles in ecologically sensitive environments such as forests.
Political correctness gone mad? As we all know Land Rovers are vital to those who love in rural communities and on untarmacked roads, whether that’s for work, pleasure or just everyday life, and if anyone is going to comply with good practice, especially in highlighting their capabilities, we’re sure it will be Land Rover themselves!