The new television ad for car manufacturer Volkswagen has been cleared of being “distressing and irresponsible” after 46 complaints were received by the Advertising Standards Authority.
The ad starts and ends with a shot of a terrier chasing a car, and scenes throughout feature images of dogs with their heads out of car windows during a journey.
Although harnesses and restraints were visible on many of the dogs, the ASA received 27 complaints that the scenes would be “harmful if emulated”. A further 27 complaints were received regarding the scenes showing the terrier chasing the car, which were considered distressing as it appeared that the dog had been abandoned.
Responding to the complaints, Volkswagen said that the company did not seek to encourage controversy within their advertising and regret that some viewers were offended. They also said that they appreciated that the British public was sensitive to animal welfare issues and ensured that every dog featured in the advert enjoyed the experience.
Having considered the complaints and subsequently cleared the advert, the ASA said: “We considered that the tone of the ad was light-hearted and that the ad was unlikely to encourage dog owners to allow their dogs to travel in that way.”