Land Rover Defender adverts banned after two viewers complain about cliff-edge scene

  • Complainants argued that parking sensors would not warn drivers they’re about to fall off cliff
  • Jaguar Land Rover said Defender’s sensors were responding to boulders
  • But ASA rules adverts must not be shown again in the UK

Time 7:23 am, May 4, 2022

Two adverts for Land Rover Defenders have been banned after misleading customers that parking sensors would warn of an approaching cliff edge.

The car maker has agreed that parking sensors would not warn of an empty space behind the car, demonstrated in the adverts shown in February.

Three Land Rover Defenders can be seen in the advert – a version of which is still available on the firm’s YouTube channel (above) – which show the sensors sounding as the Defender approaches a cliff edge parking spot.

Two viewers complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) saying the adverts were misleading.

They said the sensors would warn of objects behind the car, not an empty space.

Jaguar Land Rover agreed that parking sensors would not warn of empty space behind the vehicle – but said wide shots of the vehicle ‘clearly showed it was reversing towards a boulder’.

Land Rover Defenders cliff edge advert screenshot

A screen shot of the Defender advert (which you can watch above)

The ASA said the adverts focused on the Defender’s reversing feature and included a scene with an in-car camera view and the sensor beeping as the vehicle approached the edge of the cliff.

The watchdog said some small rocks were visible as the vehicle reversed but they appeared to be incidental to the scene.

The ASA said it was ‘not obvious’ that the parking sensor was reacting to the rocks rather than the edge of the cliff.

Land Rover Defenders cliff edge advert screenshot screens

Land Rover argued ‘boulders’ were clearly visible in the reversing image used in the advert

The ASA added: ‘We considered some viewers would therefore interpret that to mean that the car’s parking sensors could recognise when drivers might be reversing near a drop, which might include a smaller hill edge or a drop before water found in on-road areas, both in urban and more rural settings.

‘Because we understood the car’s parking sensors reacted to objects behind the vehicle, rather than to empty space such as a drop, and the rocks were not sufficiently prominent to counter that interpretation, we concluded that the ads misleadingly represented the parking sensor feature.’

In a statement, Jaguar Land Rover said it was ‘very disappointed’ in the decision as ‘the vehicle, technology and the scene represented is factual’.

It added: ‘We will of course abide by their ruling which was based on only two complaints.’

The ASA ruled that the ads must not appear again.

‘We told Jaguar Land Rover Ltd to ensure their ads did not mislead about the functionality of their parking sensor feature,’ added the ASA.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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