Yahoo blasted by ads watchdog… for encouraging speeding
Yahoo Mail has been censured by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for the unlikely crime of encouraging people to drive too fast.
The complaint focused on an advert for the new BT Yahoo Mail Beta. The advert depicted two women in a convertible car against a blurred background, appearing under the tag-line “faster is funner”.
In what is possibly the first case of the words “BT” and “excess speed” appearing in the same sentence, two complainants challenged whether the adverts were “likely to cause harm” because they “encouraged excess speed and irresponsible driving”.
In its defence, Yahoo stated “the ad was in no way related to motoring and believed that the ad did not condone speeding or driving irresponsibly.”
Yahoo also went on to explain that the “blurred scenery was used only to depict that the car was travelling along a mountain path” and “that the car was not travelling over the speed limit” – quite a statement for a fictional car used in a mocked-up advert.
Such attention to made-up detail didn’t impress the Green Cross Code guardians at the ASA, who ruled that the headline and image “portrayed speed in a way that might encourage motorists to drive irresponsibly and could therefore be seen to condone anti-social behaviour and irresponsible driving”.
Yahoo was told not to run the ads again or face three points on its licence*.
While the ASA is getting tough on fictional speeding in adverts, it’s still yet to prevent broadband providers advertising fantasy “up to” speeds in their advertising. Still, at least it’s tackling the big issues.
(*Not strictly true. Unlike the rest of this story. Unbelievably.)