Do motor vehicle advertisements that promote vehicle performance attributes also promote undesirable driving behaviour?
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In response to concerns that motor vehicle advertising may have a negative influence on audiences’ driving attitudes, many countries have adopted Codes of Ethics with respect to motor vehicle advertising. Most Codes restrict explicit depictions relating to power, speed and acceleration but do not necessarily identify when advertisements implicitly communicate these and other undesired messages about unsafe driving behaviours. We selected three motor vehicle advertisements containing depictions of vehicular behaviour such as fast driving and rapid acceleration that had been the subject of complaints to the Australian Advertising Standards Board. We exposed these advertisements to n=463 14–55 year olds. All three advertisements were found to promote positive expectancies about undesirable driving behaviours. These data confirm the rationale for motor vehicle advertising Codes but identify faults in applying the Codes; namely that the Advertising Standards Board upheld complaints about only one of the advertisements whereas viewer perceptions indicate that all three breached the Australian Code. There is a need to include mechanisms other than simple observation to assess whether undesirable messages are being communicated in motor vehicle advertisements.
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Donovan, Robert; Fielder, Lynda; Ouschan, Robyn; Ewing, M. (2011)There is growing concern that certain content within motor vehicle advertising may have a negative influence on driving attitudes and behaviours of viewers, particularly young people, and hence a negative impact on road ...
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