“Furthermore, the manner in which the car was driven was extremely reckless and given it was performed in a regular vehicle and on public roads whilst showing other vehicles to be in motion, were scenes that could potentially be emulated by viewers, putting themselves and others at a significant risk of danger by driving hazardously and in an irresponsible manner.
“Because of that, we considered that the ad had featured reckless driving behaviour on public roads and therefore concluded that ad encouraged dangerous and irresponsible driving.
“The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Aviva UK Digital Ltd that their advertising must not encourage dangerous and irresponsible driving.”
In its response to the ASA, Aviva stated that the advert was part of a broader campaign driven out of a social purpose to help make Britain’s roads safer.
The firm said “the stunts performed by David Coulthard were not intended to encourage or condone dangerous and irresponsible driving, but to denounce and discourage it”.
The 60-second ad featured on-screen text that stated: “WARNING Conducted under a controlled environment. Do not attempt to recreate.”
Aviva also produced further campaign material to support that, including a behind-the-scenes film showing Coulthard explaining that there was a place for the kind of driving depicted in the ads, but that place was not on public roads.
A spokeswoman for Aviva said: “It’s always our intention to comply with advertising guidelines so we’re disappointed by the ASA’s ruling, but we will, of course, abide by the ASA’s decision. The advert has not been shown since June 2017 and it won’t be aired again.
“We wanted to produce an advert which presented this idea in a completely different way, but still stayed true to the principles of safer driving by encouraging people to use our app which monitors their driving skills and rewards safer motorists.
“However, we appreciate that some viewers felt the advert may have sent out the wrong message.
“We are absolutely committed to helping make Britain’s roads safer and we will continue to develop new initiatives with this goal in mind.”