• Mar 9, 2006

A television advertisement for Land Rover's Discovery 3 (read: "LR3" in colonial English) has the British upscale SUV purveyor in hot water. Seventy-one viewers have filed complaints with the UK's Advertising Standards Authority for racist undertones vis-à-vis Inuit culture.

In the ad in question, an Disco pulls up to a sled-mushing Inuit. The sledder is distracted by the Rover, only to fall off his mount after running into a snowdrift. The Eskimo then runs off after his sledge, whose dogs have pulled it off into the distance.

Each of the 71 individuals filing grievances against the Green Oval have cited it for being 'racist' and maligning Inuit culture. Sixty also registered complaints over concern that Rover was harming the environment.In response, the UK's notoriously strict ASA has sloughed off the complaints, saying that it doesn't consider the ad racist or denigrating.

(More after the jump!)

Interestingly, this isn't the first time that Rover's creative television ads have been the source of controversy. In 2004, 350 viewers complained about one of the brand's spots depicting a wife getting a gun in an apparent bid to kill her husband (who is observed lounging inside his Freelander). During the course of the spot, it is revealed that the weapon is simply a starter gun.

Back in 2000, Land Rover was also accused of racism by the South African Advertising Standards Authority for a three-page print ad. The company relented, pulled the ad, and printed a mea culpa. The offending ad? A partially-clothed African woman in traditional garb has her breasts whipped sideways by a speeding Freelander.

From where this author sits, it sounds as if the first and the last ads exhibit some Western egotism (albeit in a playful tone), but the word 'racist' hardly comes to mind (let alone strike as something offensive enough to complain about). Of course, we haven't seen the ads, though Autoblog's faithful readership are encouraged to send in links to enlighten us!

What do you think? Have your say in the 'comments' field.

[Source: Brand Republic]



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  • 27 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Corey W., right on!

      oh, and to #10, I love the idea that people THINK they have free speech rights on SOMEBODY ELSE'S blog. A blog is not bound by your local rights - it's the property of the publisher. Your Constitution does NOT APPLY here.

      Weblogs, Inc. is under ZERO obligation to publish your comments. Why do you people not understand the basics? Now, you have the right to make your OWN blog or whatnot and put your opinions there, but other citizens are not required to oblige you -- that's done by choice, FYI.
      • 8 Years Ago
      again...show some respect Scott. You too are free to take your left wing hatred to the hybrids-r-nice blog or the leftwingers-r-always right blog. While the rest of us discuss the business of cars. The Land Rover advertisement would not be a political issue if people like yourself did not make it one.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sorry Fazzster but you're contradicting yourself asking someone to show respect to your point of view when you call anyone who questions you a 'racist' or a 'hater of the west' right before expressing your own disdain for the French. I don't recall Scott calling you any names or hoping you're crushed to death...

      Regarding the Commercials. I'm not Inuit, Native South African nor Female. With that said, I don't think Land Rover intended to offend anyone. Although I can't for a reason see these lawsuits as anything but frivolous, the need for advertisers to push the envelope and become 'edgy' to push their products is a worrisome trend.

      Nothing worse than the average Sunday afternoon beer commercial here - but I do feel that advertisers more and more willing to denegrate a certain demographic to engender themselves to their core audience.
      • 8 Years Ago
      That ad is racist? How is that racist? I think its funny? It doesn't demean them as a race in any way. It just makes a joke about them not paying attention. Jeez, these people need to lighten up.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm a bloody Yank living in Colonies of California, (God Save The King). FYI: No one I know in the U.S. find this commercial offensive! It is creative and funny. The biggest problem with the world today, is that we cannot joke anymore. Too much f-ing P.C. To all you politicians trying to protect us from us... ask us!
      • 8 Years Ago
      They took offense with that? Hell any Monty Python show is worse than that, know wht I mean, eh, eh, a winks as good as a nod eh eh
      • 8 Years Ago
      I saw the video ad today. The ad is hardly racist. It doesn't demean Inuit people at all. The Innuit driver was shock by the power of the LR3 that he forgot to control the sled thus the dogs escape from him. There is no part in the video which demean Innuit people at all.
      The poeple who file the complaint were just frivolous. They don't know how to judge a TV car ad at all. Why don't they wake up and look beyond their narrow view of the world.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "21. to # 17 (the counterfeit Weblogs, Inc. Rep)"

      I didn't claim to rep Weblogs, Inc. - you missed the point and that was that you don't have free speech rights (claims) over their property - make your own for full control.

      Your comment was forehead-slappingly ignorant.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Racist? No. I'm really tired of people putting all forms of disrespect into the category of racism. So let's examine:

      1) LR's recent ad with the inuits: A case of stereotypes. The stereotype is that Inuits/Eskimos are the only ones who travel by dogsleds. A better approach would've been someone on non-inuit background but same scenario. If you do that, then no one would complain. Cultural and stereotype awareness training would've prevented that. Need an example of why this is offensive? Not all or nearly that many Latinos drive lowriders. The subtext is that Latinos only value gaudy and unnecessary additions to their cars. This is untrue. Always portraying that stereotype when it is not the norm is damaging. The perfectly ok alternative is the Taco bell commercial with the nerdy (white) dude in the 'pimped' out low-rider and the black dude in the souped up Rex. They don't follow stereotypes and strengthen the fact that liking things like that is not racial (which they really aren't).

      2) LR's ad with wife and gun: Promoting violence for material gain. This is a cultural issue. Americans are more prone to complain about guns with ANYTHING. Possible solution: air commercial at night when viewing audience is older. No real need to cut or change commercial.

      3) LR's ad with partial clothed woman: Racist and offensive. Portrays African woman in completely disrespectful and tasteless way. It was a deliberate attempt to shame and disrespect African woman. Why? ANY other scenario could've shown speed, ie, woman in dress windblown to left/right without showing naughty bits or man with long hair blown to side or even man in slacks being ripped off.

      Let's get this straight fellas and ladies. Racism is the deliberate and focused attempt to shame and disrespect someone based on their race. The racism card should be used carefully by both those who are offended and those who are offending. Example - I am black and regularly (daily) deal with disrespect. 99% of the time it isn't racism; it's just a case of people who are assholes. Now the case of a person who regardless of what proof I have, I'm always disregarded but when another associate says the same thing and it is accepted without hesitation (and isn't black), then yes, that's racism.

      Got it kiddies?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Corey, you seem to have missed the point completely. They aren't dissing the left wing's ability to complain. They are dissing the left wing's ability to have free speech pulled from the market because the left wing doesn't like it.
      Similar to the lawsuit to make FSU stop using the name Seminole. The Seminoles (ok, part of the Seminole Tribe) let them do so because they felt it was an honor. The white, espresso drinking, Prius driving nut-jobs couldn't handle that and made the NCAA threaten to take away their ability to play in the postseason unless they changed their name. Guess who lost this time.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I'm sure some would consider this insensitive, but I would consider the idea that the commercial is racist, simply rediculous. There have been many, many times in everyday life that I have seen something similiar happen. I had a friend walk into a stop sign while watching a car (it might have been the girl inside) drive by. I imagine they were simply trying to express that they were in a remote, off road location, showing the capability of the Rover. The Inuit person could have been thinking any number of things, but most likely "how did that get way out here?". That reinforces the idea of remoteness. Then, it adds a sense of humor, at the expense of the individual, and further at the expense of each of us that have done something similiar. It's just funny, not offensive.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is stupid. The people bitching are people who *look* for things to complain about. People like this should contract painful diseases and die horrible deaths.
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