If you’ve ever thought complaints to a major authority wouldn’t be heard, you may just be wrong. But in this case, that isn’t a good thing—a viewer who reportedly wasn’t fond of an Audi R8 ad “promoting irresponsible driving” got it banned from the internet, and the ad shows barely any driving at all.
According to CarScoops, the ad showed a computer-generated eye contracting and dilating with tunnel lights reflecting off of it. The ad briefly showed the R8, first in the tunnel and then on a race track. In a video closely resembling the original, it seems as if there was a comparison between street driving and track driving, but it isn’t clear if that was the case or if the car just pulled onto a track at the conclusion of the ad.
Here’s the video mentioned above, which CarScoops reports to be “very close” to the banned ad:
The regulator that reportedly banned the ad, the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority, said the ad was “in breach of the code regulating motoring ads” in the UK due to promoting irresponsible driving. The authority subsequently made Audi’s parent company, the Volkswagen Group, say that the car in the ad was traveling below 30 mph when filmed.
Both the advertising company that created the ad, the Bartle Bogle Hegarty agency, and Audi responded to the situation with comments on the movements of the computer-generated eye—not the driving itself, because there isn’t much of it. From CarScoops:
“We considered that viewers would interpret the changes in pupil size as an emotional response to the movement of the car, as represented by the sounds that were audible during eye sequence”, the agency said.
In response, [Audi] wrote: “The ad was particularly intended to highlight the car’s carbon ceramic brakes, the new, naturally aspirated engine, and the 7-speed S-Tronic gearbox”, while claiming that no real eye would work in such a way.
The whole ad—at least, the version that’s still on the internet—is pretty docile, and it doesn’t exactly communicate, “Go out on the road and drive recklessly, everyone.” But if you’re one of the few people who felt like it did, there’s an easy fix: don’t go out and drive recklessly.