Toyota's SUV ads were banned by the UK advertising regulator, the ASA, in a 'landmark ruling' that should set a precedent for SUV adverts. It's the first time car ads have been banned in the UK for encouraging driving that harms the environment and nature. The decision was made public on 22nd of November, 2023.

There was widespread coverage of the ruling in national press, including the Guardian, Financial Times, Bloomberg, Business Green, Independent, Sky News and ITV News. Trade press also reported the story, reaching ad industry professionals via e.g. The DrumCampaign and Marketing Week, as well as auto industry e.g. The Driven, Car Dealer Magazine.

Veronica Wignall, co-director at Adfree Cities, said: “These adverts epitomise Toyota’s total disregard for nature and the climate, by featuring enormous, highly-polluting vehicles driving at speed through rivers and wild grasslands.

“More and more SUVs are being sold on a false promise of rugged adventure, exploiting imagery of the natural world. In reality, SUVs are harming nature, polluting our air, clogging up our cities and causing tragic loss of life. This ruling is welcome but regulation of SUV adverts is not enough; the promotion of SUVs should be terminated altogether.”

The ad ban led to a peaceful demonstration outside the creative agency that made the ads, The&Partnership, in which activists from Adfree Cities, Badvertising, XR Families, Adblock Lambeth and others dressed as animals and lay as if run over by an SUV to call to The&Partnership to stop working for Toyota. More about the demo in Marketing Beat.