Car hire firm cen­sured for ‘black cars mat­ter’ ad­vert

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Alan Tovey

AN ON­LINE leas­ing com­pany that used the slo­gan “black cars mat­ter” to sell Audis has been cen­sured by the advertisin­g watch­dog for “triv­i­al­is­ing se­ri­ous is­sues” raised by an­tiracism cam­paign­ers.

The Advertisin­g Stan­dards Author­ity ruled against a Face­book ad­vert from New­cas­tle-based LingsCars.com which fea­tured an im­age of a black raised hand with a wrist­band dis­play­ing the Audi logo along­side a black Audi A4 car.

The ad­vert also in­cluded the words: “In light of re­cent events, I’m res­ur­rect­ing my Audi deal… Black cars mat­ter. I asked Holly for a head­line for this A4… and she said ‘Once you go black you never go back’.” The post added that the car had a “man­ual gear­box (big gear knob)”.

The ASA said it re­ceived three complaints about the ad­vert, adding that us­ing the im­age of the raised fist was in­sen­si­tive, of­fen­sive and so­cially ir­re­spon­si­ble.

LingsCars said it did not be­lieve the post was of­fen­sive and de­scribed it as a pun on Audi’s “Black Edi­tion” mod­els. It added that the raised fist was a sym­bol of the Black Power move­ment, and had been used pos­i­tively and not of­fen­sively in other con­texts.

How­ever, the watch­dog said us­ing that slo­gan and icon to “sim­ply to draw at­ten­tion to an ad for a car had the ef­fect of triv­i­al­is­ing the se­ri­ous is­sues raised by those move­ments”. It also said ref­er­ences to a “big gear­knob” were “likely to be seen as ob­jec­ti­fy­ing and fetishis­ing black men”.

The ASA ruled that the ad­vert breached the advertisin­g code as it was likely to cause se­ri­ous of­fence on the grounds of race. It said that the ad­vert was so­cially ir­re­spon­si­ble and banned it from be­ing used.

LingsCars was set up by Chi­nese im­mi­grant Ling Valen­tine, who de­fended the ad­vert and said the three complaints were made by a “pa­thetic bunch of losers”.

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