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Watchdog rules against Nissan ad that showed sister standing up to brother's bully

It did not, however, find the ad was gender stereotyping or that the images were inappropriate.

A scene from the ad.
A scene from the ad.
Image: Nissan

A CINEMA AD for Nissan has been banned from appearing again.

The No More Nice Car advertisement for the company’s Micra model received a number of complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland (ASAI).

In its latest bulletin, the ASAI says it has ruled that the ad should not appear in its current form again.

The ad shows a young boy being bullied as he collects groceries for an elderly neighbour. While the bullying forces him to become more and more withdrawn, his sister is compelled to join a martial arts class.

As the pair get older, the bullying continues before the girl steps in to defend her brother. While no violence is shown, the boy is shown a number of times sporting cuts and bruises.

After the final altercation, the young people all transform into cars, including the new model Micra.

Complainants told the ASAI that they were objecting to the depiction of bullying, gender stereotyping and the appropriateness of the ad being shown before a 12A film.

“It implied that the only way to deal with it was through more violence. Some complainants also considered that the portrayal of bullying was that it was something to be ashamed of and that you shouldn’t tell anyone.”

Another complaint suggested the ad implied self harm because the boy had blood around his hands. The ASAI did not agree.

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Source: Nissan Ireland/YouTube

In its response, Nissan said that the production was intended to be viewed “as part of a short film brought to viewers by Nissan Micra and other than the last scene, there were no product or brand references intended or unintended”. They argued that the ad’s content matched that of the films it would play before.

“They acknowledged that some scenes may be found unpleasant by viewers, however, they believed that they must be viewed and considered in the light of the overall production. They said that they believed that they had behaved responsibly by seeking and approving certification to ensure that the production was shown before appropriate audiences.

“In response to the complaints that bullying was being handled by further violence, they said that at no stage was the sister shown attacking or engaging in any violent behaviour towards the bully character. They said that it was incorrect to state that the girl had attacked the bully and this was not depicted.

They said that the story was not about vengeance, but about evolving self-confidence and through her training, the girl now had the self-confidence to be assertive in the situation. They said that the advertisement was about empowerment and not being held back by preconceptions.

In its conclusion, the ASAI found that the ad’s message was “that violence could be used to resolve issues and that it was an appropriate response to bullying”. This, the ASAI found, breached the advertising code.

It did not, however, find the ad was gender stereotyping or that the images were inappropriate.

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