back to article Watchdog halts Toyota Grand Theft Auto-esque advert

An advert for the Toyota GT86 has been banned in the UK after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) judged that it glamorises reckless driving. The Toyota 'Real Deal' ad - which was released on YouTube and shown in UK cinemas - features a virtual male who discovers 'feeling' after he hops into the driving seat of the GT86 …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Nothing better to worry about??

    Must be great to lead such a privileged life that all you have to complain about is a Toyota driving slightly quickly in a computer animated advert.

    The advert was shown on TV too, not just cinemas.

    I thought it was effective, especially with the 'Non, je ne regrette rien' soundtrack. Toyota back to form.

    1. Code Monkey

      Re: Nothing better to worry about??

      They have a point. As soon as I saw that advert I got in my Fiesta and drove it through a plate glass window.

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Nothing better to worry about??

        It's better than that.

        They've taken an ad about getting away from the nanny state, and the nanny state has banned it.

        The irony isn't delicious, due to the fact that sledgehammers don't taste nice.

        No doubt this is utterly lost on those who complained and the ASA themselves though.

        Steven R

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nothing better to worry about??

      Maybe those two need to go out and find a job, or have sex to get rid of all that tension and stress they have.

  2. jungle_jim
    Thumb Down


    what a pair of silly sausages.

  3. jai

    just TWO people?

    Where's the complaints commission that I can write to so that I can complain about two small minded petty idiots with nothing better to do with their time?

    1. mdava

      Re: just TWO people?

      I have never understood this either.

      Even if you assume that each complainant represents a thousand others who shared their view but were too lazy to do anything about it, that is still only three-thousandths of a percent of the population.

      Also, I thought the ad was not bad.

    2. Velv
      IT Angle

      Re: just TWO people?

      Call me cynical, but what are the chances the two work either for alternative car makers or (more likely) an Ad Agency who provides services to an alternative car maker.

    3. AceRimmer

      Re: just TWO people?

      I don't think it quite works like that.

      Its probably that having received a complaint the ASA are obliged to investigate and they determined that it broke the rules so had to go.

  4. thegrouch

    Can I write to the ASA to ask that all the GoCompare and Compare the Market adverts are withdrawn? The rage they induce is certainly affecting my health.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Leave the smellies alone

      Meerkats stink, but the adverts are OK.

      I CANNOT STAND Gocompare adverts

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile, over at Nissan, two execs raise champagne glasses to a job well done

    1. g e

      Nissan are bothered about that Toyota?

      When they have the R35 ??

      1. Steven Raith

        Re: Nissan are bothered about that Toyota?

        Easier to sell a £25k car than a £50k car. On which Nissan is making a loss on every car....

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Nissan are bothered about that Toyota?

        Similar market place to the 370Z

        But the more cars of that type the better

  6. LoJamz

    So that's pretty much every ad for a driving game banned too then?

    1. Spleen

      If I was a creative type making an advert for Grand Theft Auto 4, what I would do is have Surly Moustachovic carjacking a Toyota, which then transports him into the real world, where he drives around sensibly for a while observing the speed limit and stopping at traffic lights. It would have made the game look much more fun than it actually was.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What happens with driving games that look ultra realistic in the near future?

  7. Chris Houston


    Bunch of goofs

  8. Andrew Lobban

    The ad has been shown on TV as well, I've seen it a few times. Not once did i think i should rush to my car and drive like an idiot.

    Seriously 2 complaints is all it takes for a totally innocuous advert to be banned. What the hell has happened to us, I mean seriously..... words fail me.

    1. Robert Grant Silver badge

      @Andrew Lobban

      The decision's correctness notwithstanding, it wasn't decided because two people complained. The complaints brought the advert to the attention of the ASA, who then made their own decision.

      If you read and thought accurately, you might be a lot less inclined to the "What's happening to the world! Nothing like this when I were a lad" talk. If you read the Daily Mail, know no history and believe their "logic" you will never stop sounding like one of their articles. Just a thought.

      1. The Axe

        Scrap the ASA

        The ASA might have made their own decision but it's based on those complaints. That the ASA can't step in proactively and ban adverts, that they have to wait till a single complaint comes in before the jump into action, shows how stupid the ASA is and why it should be scrapped.

  9. Flugal


    Insane decision.

    How can this be banned while Halifax adverts are not?

  10. Z-Eden

    Annnd watched, for no other reason than someone else wanting it banned.


  11. eJ2095


    God i hate do gooders

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Irresponsible? How about banning all the adverts for those disgustingly outrageous >1500% APR quick loan companies? Speaking as someone who has had to bail our a relative because they got into a horrible financial mess (and for reasons other than simple materialistic greed), companies like that make me feel physically sick with rage.

    As for the two who complained about the Toyota advert , grow up and get a life.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Or banning those loan companies outright... the argument given for not banning them is that without them, people might turn to unregulated, leg-breaking loan sharks.

    2. chr0m4t1c

      In one of them (QuickQuid, I think) you could clearly see the actress dying inside as she delivered the spiel.

  13. Andy Kay

    "chased by a police helicopter"?


  14. VinceH


    The first time I saw the ad, I did actually think it was for a video game until it broke through into the real world - even though there's a blatantly obvious Toyota badge on the car when he pulls the cover off, which should have been something of a clue. (I think I subconsciously block stuff like that out as product placement).

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Optional

      Apparently, the logo-recognition part of your brain is different to the 'whats going on?' part. IIRC there was a (can't remember whose, lets call it XYZ) airliner crash that resulted in images of its tail sticking out of a swamp being broadcast all over the US, proudly displaying its logo. One would expect that booking for XYZ Airlines to fall, but instead they went up.

      1. Antony Shepherd

        Re: Optional

        That didn't work for Pan Am, though.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stupid, can I complain that they withdrew the ad?

    I will never buy a Toyota, but I don't want their ad banned

  16. MJI Silver badge

    Good advert

    I like it and I like the car.

    That or the Subaru?


    1. Geoff Campbell
      Thumb Up

      Re: Good advert

      I went for the Toyota. It's a very silly car indeed.

      I don't think there's anything to choose between on the price, and I've got a good relationship with my local Toyota dealer.


      1. MJI Silver badge

        So what is it like?

        We are interested (more than some hybrid thing)

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Re: So what is it like?

          Been looking for an excuse to use the red car icon with grill and headlamps!

          1. Jediben

            Re: So what is it like?

            You barsteward! What has been seen cannot be unseen, and the icon is now tainted forever! :(

        2. Geoff Campbell
          Thumb Up

          Re: So what is it like?

          Bloody excellent, in summary. Not overly powerful, at 197bhp, but in a 1.2 tonne car that's quite brisk enough - it'll romp up to illegal speeds in a wonderfully frenetic way when asked. However, because it doesn't have a stupidly powerful 5l V8, it makes a practical everyday car as well. Oh, talking of practicality, I discovered the other day that you can fit a pushbike in the boot with the rear "seats" folded down. Wasn't expecting that.

          But what you buy it for is the handling. And boy, does it handle. Any corner, any speed, the steering is wonderfully quick and precise, the centre of gravity is lower than a snake's belly, and the driver aids are nicely unobtrusive so that you can slide it around without ever being in serious danger.

          If you do get a test drive, make sure you try the paddle-shift semi-auto. The manual gearbox would be great on the track, but on the road it's horrible, you're always searching for the right gear and never quite finding it. The auto box has a much better spread of ratios, and the manual over-ride stops all the most hateful issues of an auto box in a sports car.

          Overall? Buy one, immediately.


          1. MJI Silver badge

            Re: So what is it like?

            Had to use the red car icon again!

            Upvoted for the mini review, can ElReg review this rather than another boring hybrid.

            Well it does appeal to me, similar power to my saloon car, but a lot lighter. I have too many children for a smaller car.

            Can't afford one. But simply appeals to me.

            NOT an inline 4 (boring), Driven correct end. Light.

            I have driven a lot of cars and the best handling one is still a 1970s hot hatch with forest springs, not best road holding, but most fun on a twisty road, a 1600cc twin carbed gokart. Only let down was a live axle and no panhard rod.

            1. Geoff Campbell

              Re: So what is it like?

              According to my tame Toyota sales lizard, they are selling all they can make currently, so I would think the second-hand market will be nice and healthy in a year or so.

              Unlike a lot of similar cars, the rear seats are probably usable for children, too. Certainly either of our two (16 and 13, so not small) are happy behind the passenger, although not so much behind me when I'm driving - but then, I'm 6'4" and have the seat all the way back, at which point there's no leg-room in the back at all.

              Fab trivia fact of the day - the GT86 uses the exact same tyres as the higher spec Prius models.


  17. JimmyPage Silver badge

    On a rare visit to the cinema

    last weekend (Skyfall with the sprog) this advert was like an oasis in a sea of mobile phone and watch adverts.

    Why not ban the Guiness ads - surely all that surfing is dangerous ?

  18. The Axe

    Scrap the ASA

    Even though the ASA is a toothless body* this kind of decision just shows that it's more about politically correct decisions than anything that really offends or breaks any laws. It should be scrapped.

    * Its decisions are not legally binding.

  19. An ominous cow herd
    Thumb Down

    Thank you nanny, for taking so much good care of me

    I feel all safe and confy now...

  20. Wang N Staines

    I've got to stop taking the piss out of the yanks.

  21. Sulphur Man

    I did wonder

    The strict ASA guidelines on car manufacturer ads have been around for ages, and are well documented They apply to both print and broadcast advertising. .

    Basically a car cannot show any visual signs of fast (meaning potentially dangerous) movement, which has lead to some weird magazine adverts, such as a BMW M3 oversteering a track bend with its front wheels pointed straight on. Have a google you'll be amazed how strict they are

    When I saw the Toyota GT86 ad, I did wonder how they'd got away with it, thinking that maybe the virtual reality aspect got round the rules. Interestingly, after the car smashes through the glass, it carries on down the road in a sensible, ASA rule-abiding manner, perhaps to highlight the difference between the VR and bit and the actual road.

    But not in the eyes of the ASA it seems. It does make me wonder why the ASA doesnt scrutinise adverts BEFORE they're broadcast, instead of banning it now - this campaign been live for nearly two months. Which leads to the strong suggestion that rival manufacturers have been moaning about it.

    Good 'bad' publicity for Toyota though. They'll probably give this news a subtle push too. Gives the car a bit of brand edge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I did wonder

      It won't be rival car manufacturers. It'll be self-styled 'road safety' campaigners. I'd like to say they'll be first against the wall when the revolution comes, but there isn't going to be much room against the wall with all the other people up against it.

      If they could ban the car then they would, but they'll settle for second best for now by banning the advert.

      1. MJI Silver badge

        Re: I did wonder

        Those sort of people really get on my nerves, as does the group Break.

        They make we WANT to speed.

  22. Antony Shepherd

    I thought it was quite a nifty advert., myself,.

    So how many people have to complain before they ban ads for PPI, ambulance chasers, wonga, etc?

    That I could support.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I did just that....

    After seeing that advert and the James Bond film Skyfall in the cinema I was so brainwashed that I felt compelled to go out that night and steal cars and joy ride all over town like a gullible brainwashed feckwit that I am - oh, hang on, I'm an adult and can work this sh1t out myself.


  24. Jack Prichard

    Back in the 80's, in New Zealand...

    Toyota really pushed the envalope...


  25. Cheshire Cat

    They've cut it down

    The version on the Toyota channel is now cut down, with all the GTA bits removed.

    The full version is still on YouTube though: and this still has the police helicopters etc.

    I don't see what all the fuss was about, myself.

    1. The Axe

      Re: They've cut it down

      And not viewable in the UK (for those clueless about proxies).

  26. Silverburn

    Next weeks news

    ...GTA5 game banned for being too similar to a GT86 advert, with too much driving and not enough violence.

  27. JaitcH

    Damn Nanny State ...

    these commercials are seen in other countries without a general collapse of civilisation.

    Parents have to be parents and decide what is suitable for their children

  28. PassiveSmoking

    Given that some guy has just been sentenced to a paltry 8 years for driving without a licence or insurance, whilst under the influence of alcohol, the wrong way up a motorway, and causing a crash in which some innocent bystander was killed, I was under the impression that dangerous driving wasn't considered to be such a big deal in this country anyway.

    Is it just things that are cool that can't be tolerated?

  29. ToggleMaudlin

    The Thirteenth Floor anyone?

    First thing I thought of when I saw the ad.

    Liked it though, shame it's been cut.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    About time

    Its true, I saw that ad before Skyfall and I too wanted to drive dangerously and be chased by copters. Thank heavens it got banned

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: About time

      I saw the ad before Skyfall and immediately flew to a casino, ordered a Vodka Martini, grabbed an attractive accomplice of a supervillain, pistol whipped some security guards on an underground lair, before bungee jumping off a dam.

      ( No spoilers :) )

  31. Triggerfish

    Dangerous influences

    Its even worse than that, since watching Homeland I have built myself a suicide vest and I'm running for senate.

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