HomeInsightsAdvertising Standards Authority rules Nike “car crash” ad featuring basketball stars depicted an exaggerated and implausible stunt rather than a realistic action that could be emulated.

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A TV ad over the summer for Nike featured basketball players Aaron Gordon and Zach LaVine in a crash test centre.  The voice-over stated, “Zach, what are you doing?”, as Zach LaVine, wearing a helmet, knelt on the roof of a moving van and said, “Watch this”.  The car crashed into a barrier and propelled Zach LaVine from the car as he caught a ball in the air thrown backwards by Aaron Gordon.

The ASA investigated complaints that the ad was likely to encourage dangerous behaviour and that it was unsuitable to be broadcast when children might be watching.  It considered that the trick in the ad would be seen as an exaggerated and implausible stunt rather than a realistic demonstration of professional basket ballers’ abilities.  The ASA also said that viewers would not recognise a familiar setting because the ad was set in a testing centre with the participants wearing helmets and safety goggles.

Because the ad was not set in a real-life setting and featured action that would be recognised to be a professional stunt, the ASA did not consider that it was likely to encourage viewers to carry out a dangerous activity, or condone or encourage behaviour that prejudiced health or safety, including in children.  As such, the ad was not in breach of BCAP Code rules 4.4 (Harm and offence), 5.2 (Children) and 32.3 (Scheduling).  To read the ASA Ruling on Nike European Operations Netherlands BV (2 November 2016), click here.