Moozlie 'crash' video justified in war against drunk driving, rules watchdog

A screengrab from the video - later revealed to be part of an ad campaign - in which Moozlie crashes while driving.
A screengrab from the video - later revealed to be part of an ad campaign - in which Moozlie crashes while driving.

South Africa's advertising watchdog said it was "particularly struck" that only four people complained about hip-hop artist Nomuzi "Moozlie" Mabena being involved in a car "crash" captured on social media.

Mabena took to Instagram on January 10 to make an announcement while driving - but it was cut short by screeching tyres and a cracked windscreen.

The video ran for several more seconds before ending.

The hashtag #Nomuzi dominated Twitter for hours and well into the next day before it was revealed that the "crash" had been staged as part of a campaign against drunk driving.

Nontobeko Zungu, Ncumisa Mtirara, Gorata Chengeta and Esihle Lupindo complained to the Advertising Regulatory Board (ARB) about Volkswagen SA's Twitter campaign, arguing that the video was violent, not identified as an advert and could be seen by children.

Volkswagen said they wanted to encourage sober, safe and responsible driving.

Their campaign with Mabena started in early December 2018 with her posting about a new Volkswagen Golf GTI as her December ride and "other posts which were indicative of her drinking and driving over the course of December 2018 and early January 2019".

Volkswagen released a second video on January 11 showing that the crash video had been staged.

"To identify the staged accident immediately as such would have defeated the point of the campaign entirely, diluting its impact,"  Volkswagen told the ARB.

"The evocation of fear is a well-known and accepted characteristic of road safety commercials."

Responding to the claim that children might have seen it, Volkswagen said there was an age limit of 13 on Twitter.

The watchdog ruled that the ad was not "unduly graphic".

"The directorate finds - in so far as the material is violent, triggers fear and is offensive - that this content is acceptable in the context of the social problem that it seeks to address," ruled the ARB.

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