Be careful using off-road footage in car commercials
Using video footage or pictures in your advertising of a vehicle driving off-road is not without risk. The JEP recently ruled on a marketing campaign used by Land Rover, verifying compliance with the rules set out in the Febiac-code.
As a car / part manufacturer or importer you obviously wish to show off the excellent quality and/or performance of your vehicle, parts or accessories. Some of you do that with the use of spectacular video footage or pictures of a vehicle driving off-road without knowing that their campaign is also going off-road.
The JEP (the Belgian self-disciplinary body of the advertising sector) has in the past considered a number of such advertising campaigns (showing a vehicle driving or parked on a beach, driving through sand hills, driving on a cliff or through a nature reserve, etc) in violation of the Febiac-code and demanded to cease any further use of the given campaigns.
According to the Febiac-code (a code of conduct of the Belgian Federation of automobile manufacturers and importers) advertising should not incite excessive behaviour which is detrimental to the environment. Advertising can however, according to the code, show a place which is clearly not part of the road system (to demonstrate or describe the properties of a vehicle, parts or accessories) provided that it visually or via text:
- Puts forward unambiguously the private character of the given place; or
- Clearly indicates that the given place is not accessible to common road users; or
- The presented use at the given place is clearly authorized.
Following a complaint, the JEP recently ruled on an advertising campaign used by Land Rover showing a vehicle driving through a large body of water (decision of 23 May 2017 – see given campaign (page 84)). The campaign was considered compliant as the advertising explicitly stated (1) that the picture was taken in Zekreet Qatar where this off-road use is authorised and (2) that every off-road use of a vehicle should respect traffic rules and the environment.
Should you have any question about your marketing campaign or require a legal check, do not hesitate to contact us.
FilipPauwelsAttorney at law Senior Associate
Filip Pauwels is a senior associate in our office in Brussels, a member of the Litigation & Risk Management Practice Group and co-head of the L&L Automotive Team. He is also member of the L&L Food & Beverages Team.T: +32 2 700 10 28 M: +32 485 78 67 97 E: firstname.lastname@example.org