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]