Update: Today I received the following correspondance from the ASA
Thank you for contacting us about a radio ad from Volkswagen, we received a number of complaints about the ad. Some objected that the ad was produced without the consent of Stephen Hawking, Emeritus Lucasian Professor, while others objected it was offensive to people with disabilities and Professor Hawking in particular.
Having looked into the matter further, we are satisfied that the broadcaster has complied with the requirements of the BCAP Code and as a result we will not be pursuing the matter further. In particular, we have received confirmation that Professor Hawking gave his consent to appear in the ad.
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On the radio today an advert came on that caught my attention.
It was Stephen Hawking talking about the Higgs boson and typical intellectual stuff.
This went on for about 20 seconds.
Then the language soon changed to be very chatty, almost slang-like.
This didn’t feel like Professor Hawking talking.
All of a sudden he was talking about the new Volkswagen Up.
This wasn’t Stephen Hawking at all, just an ad peddling another car using his voice effect.
It was clever (for a second) but then felt wrong.
This didn’t have a clever twist, like the More Than Morgan Freeman advert.
Just fooling you into listening for a while.
(Update – here is a Youtube clip of the ad)