Motor vehicle advertising

Ad Standards has compiled information about the Ad Standards Community Panel approach in applying the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries Advertising for Motor Vehicles Voluntary Code of Practice (the FCAI Code).

This information highlights issues that should be considered when developing motor vehicle advertisements.

The FCAI Code

This Code only applies to advertisements for motor vehicles. The primary purpose of the Code is to provide guidance to advertisers in relation to appropriate standards for the portrayal of images, themes and messages relating to road safety.

Complaints on the following issues do not present an issue of safety and will not be accepted.

  • The use of images produced overseas which may depict number plates from jurisdictions outside of Australia or left-hand drive vehicles travelling on the right-hand side of the road, when the footage is provided for an Australian company by its overseas parent company.
  • The absence of number plates on motor vehicles being advertised.

Provisions of the Code

These Sections cover advertising and marketing communications for motor vehicles:

  • Unsafe driving, including reckless and menacing driving that would breach any Commonwealth law or the law of any State or Territory.
  • People driving at speeds in excess of legal speed limits.
  • Driving practices or other actions which would, if they were to take place on a road or road-related area, breach any Commonwealth law or the law of any State or Territory.
  • People driving while being apparently fatigued, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol to the extent that such driving practices breach any Commonwealth law or the law of any State or Territory.
  • Deliberate and significant environmental damage, particularly in advertising for off-road vehicles.
  • Use of motor sport in advertising:
    • Such scenes should be clearly identifiable as part of an organised motor sport activity, or testing or proving activity, of a type for which a permit would normally be available in Australia.
    • Racing or competing vehicles depicted in motor sport scenes should be in clearly identifiable racing livery.
  • An advertisement may legitimately depict the capabilities and performance of an off-road vehicle travelling over loose or unsealed surfaces, or uneven terrain, not forming part of a road or road related area. Such advertisements should not portray unsafe driving and vehicles must not travel at a speed which would contravene the law.

As well as being considered under the FCAI Code, complaints about motor vehicle advertisements may be considered under the AANA Code of Ethics if they contain content that may breach provisions of the Code, excluding Section 2.6.