Advertising & Marketing Celebrating Brands and Performance Driving – Crash: Report

There’s a significant statistical difference in driver culpability across different brands when risky or aggressive maneuvers play a role in collisions. A study found that dodgy driving – covering such reported infringements as speeding, jumping a red light, overtaking on double white lines, or ignoring the humble pedestrian crossing – was more likely to be a factor when a Subaru, Porsche, and BMW was involved than a Skoda or Hyundai.

Researchers believe branding could be to blame. Alan Tapp, professor of social marketing at the University of the West of England who is the lead author of the research, says all things being equal, one would expect the same proportion of aggressive maneuvers across all types. He highlighted that there was a higher prevalence in the Department of Transport collision data among those with advertising and marketing that celebrate performance driving – “look at me, king-of-the-road stuff”.

The study says drivers of Subaru cars were involved in proportionately the most injudicious action. Tapp calls it chicken and egg. “Do aggressive drivers choose certain cars, or do brands make things worse? We know that some car makers spend hundreds of millions of dollars worldwide every year promoting their cars with imagery that, in some cases, subtly implies a connection between their make of car and high-performance driving.”

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He pointed out that the design of some makes seems to appeal to drivers who may want to push the boundaries of performance. The car manufacturers, of course, abide by the laws and regulations that govern them. But with the data coming to light, Tapp ponders whether manufacturers and regulators should be pressed to take a look at the way modern marketing techniques might be having an adverse effect on road safety.

Enticing Consumers

Mark Borkowski, a branding expert, says car manufacturers long have been bewitching consumers to buy into a lifestyle brand. “You have the Top Gear or Grand Tour idiom, or movies like Fast and Furious or James Bond. None of those experiences and imagery seem particularly real, but people maybe, particularly guys, step into those cars and think they’ve become those brands, even when you don’t have those Swiss mountain passes or the LA Freeway. And nothing looks more silly than being in a super-sleek car tootling slowly around on the streets of Guildford and Gosport.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said safety is the first priority for vehicle manufacturers. “All their marketing and advertising is governed by strict regulations, including Advertising Codes, which contain strict prohibitions on the depiction of high speed and irresponsible driving.”

Safety is Paramount for Brands

Respective automobile brands have come up saying safety is of utmost importance and their number one priority. A spokesperson for Porsche said safety at the wheel is of paramount importance to the company. A spokesperson for Subaru said the brand’s core pillars are safety, capability, and reliability. “We no longer import the sporty range from our rallying days to the United Kingdom. Our SUVs are very family-focused and we’re proud to have the 5-star Euro NCAP rating across the entire range.”

A spokesperson for BMW said the carmaker puts safety first. “This is also reflected in the way in which we market our cars in the UK and we spend a great deal of time and care in meeting the high standards set by the Advertising Standards Authority.”

Also Read: Honda Brings Eco-Responsible All New, All-Electric Prologue SUV

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Nandika Chand