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Road safety ads altered to avoid logo

Hard-hitting television advert changed after complaint from car manufacturer

A SECOND hard-hitting road safety advertisement this time featuring a Ford van has been subtly edited to reduce the visibility of the manufacturer's logo.

The move follows complaints last week from Renault Ireland's managing director Bill Cullen about a shocking advertisement which featured a Renault Megane knocking down a mother and child.

Now a second ad which features a Ford Transit van mowing down a teenager texting a girlfriend on his mobile phone as he crosses the road has been digitally airbrushed by the advertising company, McCann Erickson.

A spokesperson from RTE confirmed yesterday that changes were made to both advertisements by the Belfast advertising company.

Ford Ireland never expressed any grievance about the use of their vehicle in the advertisement to RTE, the National Safety Council or the advertising agency.

"Both ads, which are back on air, have been changed because everyone wanted to be even-handed towards both companies," said an RTE spokesperson.

They added, "Ford never complained about their brand name being used in the ad, and as far as I understand they have not been consulted about the change."

Managing director of Ford Ireland, Eddie Murphy, confirmed they had made no complaints about the advert.

"We understand that the advertisement which featured a Ford Transit will not be taken in any way as questioning the safety of the vehicles shown. We have always embraced the National Safety Council in their efforts to reduce the fatalities and carnage on Irish roads," he said.

RTE said it decided to replace the advert featuring a Megane as "a precautionary measure" after receiving a copy of a complaint from Renault to the ad agency.

Senator Feargal Quinn accused RTE of being "at the behest" of Renault after the station dropped the television road safety advertisement following complaints from Renault managing director Bill Cullen. The advert's sponsor AXA Insurance said it was astounded at the decision.

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RTE insisted it responded to Renault's complaint "in the same way it would respond to any other such complaint" and said it did not treat the firm differently "simply because Renault is a programme sponsor".

Bill Cullen told the Sunday Independent that reports he had threatened to end his sponsorship of the Late Late Show were "absolute nonsense".

"I have said time and time again that we are delighted with our sponsorship of the Late Late Show. In 45 years in the motor business it's been the best marketing support I have had," he said.

"This is nothing to do with the Late Late Show. I was not angry with RTE. My focus was with the advertising agency that made the advert in the context that common practice down here is that the ad agencies always contact a car distributor if they are using a car in safety advertisement.

"That didn't happen, the ad was shown and in my opinion my car was shown in a very poor light killing a young child," he added.

"It's a small adjustment. It's a digitalised advert so it's easy to adjust them and the changed advert is running at the moment and no one would even know the difference but the car is nowhere near as high profile as it was," he said.

"The Ford logo is now gone from the Transit advert as well and that is only fair play," Mr Cullen said.

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