AN ADVERTISING campaign for Peugeot's latest 306 car has enraged the Highways Agency, and prompted it to write to the French car manufacturer and its advertising agency Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper demanding an apology.
Agency head of public relations John Murphy described the advert as 'inaccurate' and 'insulting'. He added 'It's trying to be amusing but it fails.'
The offending ad depicts a construction worker placing cones on an unidentified road. 'If I've got my sums right, these should cause a nice long tailback this hot bank holiday weekend,' he is quoted as saying. The strap line reads: 'It's why the Peugeot 306 has air conditioning as standard.'
But Murphy pointed out: 'In the Agency's view the ad makes fun of workers on motorway and trunk roads. It is insulting to many hard working staff.'
A spokesman for Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper said the ad was intended to be light hearted.
But Murphy insisted the ad was also inaccurate to imply that the Agency would section off roads at times when demand is highest. 'We have a policy of lifting road works where possible over bank holidays to minimise congestion.'
Peugeot has a second dig at the construction industry in another of the campaign series where a worker deliberately boxes in a parked car with a skip. This ad promotes power steering on the car.
The Institution of Civil Engineers agreed that Peugeot's ad campaign was 'sly', but a spokeswoman added the underlying congestion and traffic management theme pointed up a pressing political and engineering issue.
She also pointed out that air conditioning, one of the campaign's selling points, could in fact help reduce stress in real-life traffic jams and as a result could itself contribute to safety.