Anti toddler-hoon legislation claims its first scalp

I saw the latest Hyundai ad last night and quite liked it. This morning, reading the paper over my Weeties, I find out my pleasure will be no more.

AUSTRALIA’S advertising watchdog has yanked a television ad for a car off the air after viewers voiced fears that it might encourage toddlers to jump behind the wheel of the family car.

The Advertising Standards Bureau yesterday told Hyundai to pull its “Next Generation” ad, which shows a toddler getting behind the wheel of a Santa Fe four-wheel-drive, putting on a seatbelt and picking up another child hitchhiking along the road.

The board said it had received more than 80 complaints about the ad. Several weeks ago, Hyundai had voluntarily moved it to a later time slot to appease viewers concerned about its effect on young children.

But the bureau said the ad did not comply with the code that governs vehicle advertising.

“The board certainly acknowledged that the notion of a toddler driving a car was unrealistic and fanciful, but under the (code of practice), fantasy cannot be used when it contradicts, circumvents or undermines the code,” bureau chief executive Mark Jeanes said. “Many of the complaints were from parents concerned that the advertisement would encourage copy-cat behaviour in young children and might lead to accidents.”

Hyundai spokesman Richard Power said yesterday that the company was disappointed with the ruling, but it would “not query the referee’s decision”.

“Hyundai maintains the ad is patently aimed at adults and its blatant fantasy is the foil for the literal liberties taken in the driving sequences,” he said.

The Age

So sit your under-5s here to let them absorb the message the wowsers don’t want them to hear.


  1. catbrain says:

    Playing that ad in the office earlier today provoked a bit of discussion…

    * The editing and CGI makes it a bit too “real”;
    * The biggest concern was the kid climbing out of the cot at the start, particularly one mother who said she’s certain her child would immediately try to imitate it if he saw it; and
    * Just because little kids “should” be in bed by 8.30pm doesn’t necessarily mean that they are, for whatever reason.

    Can we lobby to have those god-awful APIA ads banned too?!

  2. Little kids are climbing out of cots everywhere as soon as they can. Generally, friends of mine who have gone through that stage take it as an indication that it’s time they move into a big-boy/girl bed.

    I don’t think there’s that much CGI in there – apart from the obvious surfing bits and sitting up on the bonnet at the end.

    Other criticism I’ve heard over the day is that kids that are a little older will get ideas from the ad – say 10 year olds.

    It’s a little nanny-state-ish though – because parents don’t take responsibility for what their kids watch nobody’s allowed to see it. I find this ad much less offensive than some of the SUV ads that went to air during the superbowl with the great big tank of a 4×4 driving up a big metal see-saw and skidding to a stop millimetres from a gorge with a drop of hundreds of metres.

    There’s a general nanny-state movement in this country at the moment, such as with the proposal that all of the Australian internet be filtered of any porn, which will have a massive effect on the speed of internet on all sites all over the country.

    I’m not outraged by the censorship of the ad – it’s just an ad – but it’s symbolic of trends in many aspects of life in this country.

  3. [rant]
    Jesus that shits me. I spend 90% of my time teaching telling people that the “effects” model is crap. That hey have to go beyond the idea of monkey see monkey do. And STILL this crap keeps rearing its ugly head.

  4. I’d like to hear more about the ‘effects’ model (although this is perhaps not the time or place – maybe I can enrole in one of your classes). Just knowing from Fry who is one and a half is pretty much all monkey see monkey do at this point.

    But obviously he would never take off in the car and banning this ad is absolutely ridiculous.

  5. I agree: ridiculous. Has there been a rash of toddlers driving cars and surfing recently? Kids watch all kinds of fanciful/fantasy stuff on TV. If some TV character flies, hordes of small children aren’t going to suddenly jump off the garage roof – particularly if they have no way of getting up there in the first place.

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