ASA smackdown for Yahoo! Thelma & Louise
Speedy driver-babe Yahooligans rouse (some) public ire
The UK's advertising regulator has slammed the brakes on a Yahoo! ad which is said encourage irresponsible driving.
The ASA received a complaint about "an ad on a login screen, for an email service provider, [which] was headed 'Faster is funner. Introducing the 2x faster New BT Yahoo! Mail. Find out more about BT Yahoo! Mail Beta'..."
The ad featured two women in a convertible sports car against a background of blurred scenery.
A tidal wave of two people said the ad was potentially harmful because they "believed it condoned and encouraged excess speed and irresponsible driving".
Yahoo! responded that the ad "was in no way related to motoring and believed that the ad did not condone speeding or driving irresponsibly".
The picture and tagline were "light hearted references" to the speediness of the mail service, Yahoo! said, while the blurred scenery was an attempt to depict the car's progress along a mountain path. It added that the car was not travelling over the speed limit (this was a static picture) and no references were made to the speed of the car.
But the ASA concluded "speed" was the key message of the ad, and that it "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".
Thus Yahoo! must not use the ad again in its current form, or portray speed in such a way as to encourage irresponsible driving.
As far as we can make out, no one considered the issue of whether or not Yahoo!'s email service was indeed faster than before. ®