News - Nissan Pulsar
Ad watchdog slaps Nissan again for SSS commercial
Nissan again forced to edit Pulsar SSS TVC after complaints to ad watchdog
2 August 2013
THIRD time appears to be the charm for Nissan Australia, with a re-edit of its
controversial new Pulsar SSS television commercial now on the air.
The company was recently forced by Australia’s advertising watchdog to edit its
TVC, featuring a man racing to get his ‘pregnant’ partner to hospital, for a
second time, following continued complaints the ad depicted unsafe and reckless
The commercial for Nissan’s 140kW/240Nm Pulsar SSS turbo hatch depicts the male
character driving the hatch through city streets at speed on the way to a
hospital, while maneuvering down tight urban alleys, and driving closely behind
At the end of the commercial, the Pulsar is seen skidding to a stop directly
out the front of the hospital, a spot usually reserved for ambulances and other
emergency vehicles, before the couple get out of the car and enter the hospital.
Once in the hospital, it becomes clear the couple have undertaken a time trial
to see how long it takes to drive from their home to the hospital, where it is
revealed the young woman is not yet pregnant.
Some of the complaints to the ASB regarding the first cut of the ad included;
“I would recommend all these involved in the making and promotion of these ads
visit the accident trauma centre at the Alfred.”
“The advertisement promotes unsafe driving.”
“The advertisement promotes driving behaviour (rapid
of direction) that is counter to sound medical advice regarding the carriage of
pregnant women in motor vehicles.”
The ASB upheld the complaints in June, determining the ad depicted unsafe
driving while breaching the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industry’s
advertising code, while Nissan responded by requesting that the complaints be
ASB’s case report into the ad highlighted concerns raised over the ad’s
depiction of the woman asking the driver to drive faster (“Go, go go!”) and the
time trial element the story-line.
The ASB board also commented that “we do not see what speed the car is driving
at however the Board considered that these audio effects in conjunction with
the visual images of the vehicle driving in a manner which suggests they are in
a hurry are suggestive of driving which is not appropriate for the urban
environment depicted and is unsafe and reckless.”
Following this outcome, Nissan re-edited the ad by lowering the vehicle’s
engine noise, removing the words “quick, quick, quick” and “go, go, go” and
removing the screeching noise of the vehicle coming to a stop outside the
hospital, while it added a disclaimer stating the ad was “filmed under
Despite Nissan’s edits, the ASB received further complaints relating to the
Pulsar “hurtling along city roads at great speed with seemingly little regard
for its surroundings” while depicting “aggressive or competitive driving
Again the complaints were upheld, forcing Nissan to re-edit the ad for a third
Nissan removed a number of shots, including any reference to a “personal best”
time, footage of the Pulsar driving closely behind another vehicle, some of the
shots in the alleyway, the stopwatch ‘beep’ sound and vehicle revving sounds.
Nissan also confirmed that parts of the ad, including shots of the couple
kissing, were removed to slow down the driving footage, “even though the
footage shown was already below applicable speed limits.”
The third edit of the Pulsar ad continues to air on television and is available
to view on Nissan’s YouTube channel.
An official statement from Nissan Australia said it accepted the ASB’s decision
after modifying the ad accordingly, adding that it “takes both road safety and
its advertising obligations seriously”.
“We consider that the current version of our television commercial has
addressed all of the issues raised by the ASB and complies with the provisions
of both the FCAI Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising and
the AANA Code of Ethics.
“We do not believe that the commercial in any way depicts unsafe or unlawful
It’s not the first time Nissan Australia has had to defend itself against
complaints to the ASB, with an ad for the Dualis hatch coming under fire in
ASB investigated complaints relating to an ad depicted the Dualis being driven
through empty streets as giant paintballs were fired at the car, with the
vehicle forced to dodge them and at one point driving off the top of a building
and rolling in mid-air.
Despite the concerns of unsafe driving, the ASB dismissed the complaint,
allowing Nissan to air the ad.
Fellow Japanese car-maker Suzuki found itself in hot water last year after
airing an ad depicting its Suzuki Swift Sport driving around a multi-level
car-park, with close-up shots of the accelerator being pushed and tachometer
The ASB upheld the complaints and Suzuki modified the ad by removing to