South Africa: Man Friday - Macho 4×4 Ads Are an Act of Eco-Hooliganism

opinion

Advertisements for 4x4 vehicles that depict cowboy hooliganism are not only hopelessly old-fashioned and out of touch with modern conservation realities, they also encourage destructive off-road driving.

First published in Die Burger.

There was some (and I stress, some) outrage on outdoor and motoring forums these past two weeks after the Advertising Regulatory Board ordered Toyota to scrap an advertisement for its Hilux GR Sport bakkie. I never saw the ad, but I gather from reports that it showed a Hilux driving at speed through sand dunes, spraying sand, while three meerkats watched.

Now clearly, this ad was shot in a controlled environment, and the meerkats were edited in, because meerkats don't live on beaches (well, they have been known to venture close to beaches on the Skeleton Coast, but that's irrelevant). Much of the outrage on social media was directed at the two people who complained about the advertisement on the grounds that it a) encouraged illegal behaviour, ie driving on beaches; and b) depicted environmentally destructive driving.

In its response, Toyota disingenuously stated that the advertisement was filmed in the Philippi sand-mining area on the Cape Flats, and that no beaches were harmed in the making of the...

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