Watch This Audi Ad That Was Banned in the U.K.

August 17, 2016, 7:28 PM UTC
North American International Auto Show Held In Detroit
Photograph by Bill Pugliano — Getty Images

This article has been updated to reflect comment from Audi.

A TV commercial for Audi’s R8 supercar has recently been pulled after the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it promoted reckless driving.

The decision was sparked by a complaint that the ad associated speed with excitement, according the ASA’s ruling.

The ASA is an independent regulator of advertising across all media in the United Kingdom, according to its website. The ASA also responds to individual complaints, like the one that was filed against the Audi R8 ad which prompted the ban.


Even though the ad doesn’t include any shots of a speeding car, it shows a close up of the driver’s pupil changing size while the sound of a revving engine can be heard in the background. The eye also reflects the lights from the inside of a tunnel, suggesting the driver is speeding through it.

Volkswagen (VLKAY), the parent company to Audi, argued that the ad was not intended to promote speeding, and said that the eye was a symbol of concentration. The ad’s main message, the auto-maker said, was that the new R8 was Audi’s “most focused drive yet.”


Audi disagreed that the ad linked speed with excitement or that it was irresponsible, but still agreed to pull the ad after the ASA said it believed the commercial violated the code that manages British car commercials.

“We respect the decision of the ASA to uphold the complaint in this instance,” a spokesperson for Audi told Fortune.