UK Bans Land Rover Ads For Showing Vehicles On Cliffs

The Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic SUV brands.

Photo: Land Rover / Courtesy

ATV manufacturers love to show off their vehicles by doing their best. Whether soaring across desert sands or scaling rocky outcrops, it’s all fair game when it comes to advertising. Recent Land Rover adverts I was hoping to do just that, but eventually banned in England for a dangerous lack of realism.

How was the Land Rover Defenders announced?

The ad starts off quite simply, with Land Rover Defenders getting off the boat, driving through the city and across the desert. However, it was the end of the outrageous ad. The final shot shows two Defenders parked on the edge of a cliff, with a third retreating instead. When the driver backs up to the curb, the parking sensors sound to signal the driver to stop. Defender stopped, parked near the drop into the valley below.

The ad immediately caused complaints.

They present themselves two complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, denouncing the ad for containing harmful misleading content. The concern is that modern vehicle parking sensors cannot detect empty spaces or cliff edges, as the video shows. Its ultrasonic transducer can only detect hard objects behind the vehicle. If the driver had to rely on the parking sensors while backing into a cliff, they would simply back off without the parking sensors peeking out.

Land rover defends himself and confirms the video

Jaguar Land Rover notes concerns around the parking sensor feature, but replied that the shot in the ad “clearly shows him backing onto a rock” which could trigger censorship.

Few will be surprised that the ASA does not accept this claim. Authorities responded that it was “not clear” that the sensors responded to the rock in the shot, which was deemed incidental at the scene. While some rocks are visible in the Defender’s reverse view shot, it seems unlikely that the parking sensors would activate on the tiny bits of debris lying low on the ground.

Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender is one of Queen Elizabeth II’s most iconic and favorite SUV brands. / Photo: Courtesy Land Rover.

Misleading and risky advertising for other drivers

Summarizing his decision, The ASA notes that “we think some viewers will interpret that to mean that car parking sensors can recognize when a driver may be backing up near a drop, which could include a smaller hillside or drop before they hit the road. Water is found in roadside areas, either in both urban and rural areas.”.

To cover up Jaguar’s objections, authorities added that “because we understand that car parking sensors react to objects behind the vehicle, rather than empty space such as falls, and rocks are not strong enough. To counter that interpretation, we conclude that the ad misrepresents the sensor’s function.” parking.”

Advertising regulators have always underestimated misrepresentation, but in this regard, there is also a significant safety factor to consider. Drivers who happen to see an advertisement and try to use the parking sensors on the cliff will be at risk of serious injury or even death if the worst happens.

Land Rover Defender. / Courtesy of Land Rover.

land rover lost the battle

The ASA ruling means Jaguar Land Rover will not be able to rerun ads in the UK. The company was “deeply disappointed” by the decision and reiterated its statement that “the vehicles, technology and scenery presented are factual.”

However, rules are rules, and the company notes that “of course, we will comply with their decision, which is based on only two complaints.”


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Roderick Gilbert

"Entrepreneur. Internet fanatic. Certified zombie scholar. Friendly troublemaker. Bacon expert."

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