Australia Bans Toyota Yaris GR Commercial Over the Briefest of Drifts

The birthplace of the term “hoon” sure seems to take issue with anything like it, even if it’s a tiny slide filmed on a private dirt driveway.

byStef Schrader|
Toyota News photo


A Toyota ad featuring its rally-inspired 2021 GR Yaris road car was banned by Australian authorities for showing the GR Yaris briefly sliding as it came out of a barn, reports CarAdvice. Even though that part of the ad was filmed on private property and even looked like someone's private driveway, Australia's advertising standards authority still received complaints about the ad promoting unsafe driving. 

Don't these people have a neighborhood association to irritate instead? 

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The ad features the whole Yaris range, with three Yaris-owning siblings rushing to make it home to their parents on time. It's the GR Yaris-driving son whose wrenching session is interrupted, prompting him to drive spiritedly out of his own barn, with the rear tires briefly breaking loose in the process. 

This teeny tiny loss of traction is what prompted the complaints, which specifically noted two no-nos under the Australian Federal Chamber for Automotive Industries Motor Vehicle Advertising Code: unsafe driving and promotion of speeding. 

The Ad Standards Community Panel reviewed the complaints, and while they didn't find that it promoted speeding, they came to the conclusion that this teeny tiny slide was "unsafe driving."

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"The Panel considered that the action of losing traction in the rear of the vehicle would be considered to be a loss of control of the vehicle," the Ad Standards decision explains. "The Panel considered that the advertisement did depict the vehicle engaging in unsafe which would be likely to breach relevant law were it to occur on a road or road related area.

Toyota unsuccessfully argued for the complaint to be dismissed. In their response, they noted that they were on private property with the property owner's permission, no laws were broken while filming, and that the little slide was done in a safe, attentive manner: 

"The Advertisement shows Toyota vehicles being driven in different environments in compliance with applicable road rules and regulations. Toyota confirms that the vehicles were being driven within the legal speed limit and were closely monitored at all times during filming. Toyota confirms that it obtained council approval and permits as necessary for filming on each shoot. Also, the drivers of the vehicles are seen driving in an attentive manner and taking necessary safety precautions such as wearing a seatbelt and looking ahead with both hands on the wheel.

"Under the FCAI Code, Advertisers can portray the performance and abilities of their vehicles in 'off road operation'. The depiction of the Yaris driving on city streets and off-road on grass, gravel, and dirt roads was intended to show the vehicle’s on- and off-road versatility. The off-road driving segments were filmed under controlled conditions on access roads with property owners’ permission, within appropriate speed limits and in compliance with relevant road rules and regulations. Furthermore, the off-road driving did not cause deliberate or significant environmental damage."

However, Toyota also has already discontinued the ad as it had run its course. If they use it again, it will have to cut out the slide to comply with this asinine ruling. The automotive industry in Australia has to adhere to stricter rules in its ads than TV shows, movies and music videos, CarAdvice notes. The Australian Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries' code prohibited advertising cars breaking traffic laws in response to road safety advocates. 

Toyota isn't the first automaker to run an ad that broke the FCAI's rules, as Car Expert notes that Ford had a modify a Ranger Raptor ad that showed off what a complainant deemed to be excessive acceleration, and Volkswagen had to edit its "Too Powerful for TV" Amarok ad for similar reasons. 

Australia is notoriously unforgiving of its hoons, too, confiscating cars used for burnouts and crushing cars used for street racing. Recently knighted seven-time Formula 1 champ Lewis Hamilton was even fined in 2010 under Australian anti-hoon laws for smoking the tires of his AMG loaner during the Australian Grand Prix weekend. Off-road star Robby Gordon fared even worse, getting banned from racing in Australia after doing some donuts on the road. 

That being said, we thought of the children, and we know that private property is the correct place to slide around a bit, so long as you have the property owner's permission. There was absolutely nothing wrong with Toyota's ad, and it's silly that the Aussie ad board even considered this kvetching. 

In fact, letting it rip on loose-surface, non-public roads is a great way to learn better car control and figure out how to save your car from a certain smash when things go wrong. I know I'd be lost on snow and other slippery surfaces if I didn't do some rallycross in my spare time, which is another fun activity that involves sliding around in the dirt on private property. These folks complaining should try ripping around a field sometime, and they'd probably become safer drivers because of it. 

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