One of our favorite forbidden fruits, the rally-bred Toyota GR Yaris, now has the notoriety of being banned on Australian television. A recent Toyota commercial featuring the car was pulled because it exhibited “unsafe” driving and “breaking the speed limit.” The spot will have to be modified before it can air again.
According to Australia’s Car Expert, the ad violated the Federal Chamber for Automotive Industries’ Motor Vehicle Advertising Code. It was brought to the FCAI’s attention after the agency received a complaint that “the commercial promotes speeding and may influence people to speed which is very dangerous.”
So what was in the offending ad? It features a pretty bland setup, in which siblings in separate cars, all Yarises, drive to attend their parents’ wedding anniversary. One of them, Jack, is apparently the perpetually forgetful one, and the sisters message him — via the car’s voice recognition system, naturally — a reminder. Of course, Jack has indeed forgotten, and is wrenching on his classic ST185 Toyota Celica rally car instead. Oh, Jack, you scamp!
Upon receiving the message, he darts out of the garage into his GR Yaris and speeds off. At this point, the homologation special (barely) breaks traction on the dirt driveway for a bit, throwing up some dust before arriving at his parents’ house ahead of his sisters with a smug look on his face. It’s this tiny slide that got the ad banned.
Toyota issued an official response to the FCAI, saying, “Toyota takes the opinion of the complainant very seriously. However, it is our belief that the advertisement does not contravene the FCAI Code or the applicable laws and regulations that govern community roads and driving standards.” Upon further review, the Advertising Standards Bureau found that Toyota was not guilty of showing the car breaking the speed limit, but that the brief wheel spin did constitute unsafe driving.
Australia has traditionally had strict anti-hooning laws. Many drivers have had their cars confiscated for shows of power and speed. Even Lewis Hamilton has been fined. However, in a world where all publicity is good publicity, this ban probably just makes the 268-horsepower GR Yaris seem even cooler.