The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has termed a Bajaj Pulsar ad as misleading. Bajaj made this ad to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Pulsar, an iconic motorcycle brand. In the ad, various generations of the Pulsar are shown performing stunts at what seems to be a fort in Rajasthan.
So, why does the ASCI have an issue with the Pulsar ad?
According to the ASCI:
In the advertisement, the rider is shown performing stunts in normal streets, market, traffic conditions – wheelie being shown in multiple places, including right amongst a group of people dancing. This is noted to be in contradictory to the disclaimer made in the advertisement – “These stunts have been performed under controlled environment at an isolated location”. It was concluded that regardless of the disclaimer, the specific visuals showing the stunts performed by the rider in normal traffic and/or in presence of bystanders and public encourages dangerous practices, manifests a disregard for safety and encourages negligence and contravenes the ASCI Codes.
What does Bajaj have to say about this?
Bajaj Auto VP Marketing Sumeet Narang said:
We have received communication from ASCI regarding a couple of sequences in a Pulsar campaign. Pulsar is a performance brand and all our films are shot under controlled environment using expert riders. The sets and CG work is done in a way to give it a realistic look. The creative depiction of the sequence is what has been questioned. We have briefed our agency to take a re-look at the sequences mentioned to ensure complete compliance with laid out guidelines.
What’s our take?
The Pulsar brand is known for quick, powerful motorcycles. Showing the performance potential of these motorcycles through stunts is bound to result in some people imitating them. That’s why there’s a disclaimer that explicitly warns people against imitating the stunts performed in these ads. So, the ad is not necessarily encouraging bad behaviour. It’s just showing the performance potential of the Pulsar. Now, if the ASCI starts banning all car and bike ads that show stunts, we may end up having ads showing bikes on side-stands and little else. That won’t be very interesting, isn’t it?