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How do  car makers pitch their advanced driver-assistance and autonomous-driving tech without seeming to endorse sloppy driving?

Mercedes modified this print ad after pressure from safety and consumer groups.

It's a tough task facing marketers as they try to accurately convey the advantages of a new generation of safety technologies that are designed to mitigate the cause of almost all vehicle fatalities: human error.

Self-driving cars are still years away from mass availability whereas building-block technologies such as automated steering, emergency braking and adaptive cruise control are already widely available, allowing for limited self-driving capability in predictable situations, such as motorway traffic.

But car makers warn that no matter how reliable, and no matter what brand names such as Drive Pilot imply, drivers must remain alert and engaged at all times.

And that's a difficult balance to strike in a 30-second TV ad.

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