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BMW ad banned after one complaint

By David Bonnici, 11 May 2018 News

UK advertising watchdog outdoes its stuffy Aussie counterpart by ruling that cars driven straight and quick on deserted tracks ‘condoned faster, dangerous and irresponsible driving’

BMW ad banned after one complaint

THE ADVERTISING fun police are at it again, this time in the UK where a BMW ad showing cars driving on straight roads has been banned from television screens after receiving just one complaint, because it “gave the impression that the cars were being driven at a considerable speed”.

The 60-second ‘Get Out There’ commercial, which showcases the German carmaker’s xDrive all-wheel-drive system, shows different BMW models ploughing through various road conditions including dirt, snow and mud, with Blur’s Song 2 providing the raunchy soundtrack.  

Read next: 2018 BMW X3 xDrive 30i quick review

While the cars are obviously going quick, they always appear in control despite the conditions – which is kind of the point of the ad.

But that all seemed lost on the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which, while acknowledging some of the scenes were shot off public roads, reckoned “the demonstration of the capability of the xDrive system condoned faster, dangerous and irresponsible driving … presented in the context of excitement”. It also took offence to an X5 “appearing to skid on a dirt trail.”

According to Auto Express, BMW contested ASA’s interpretation of the ‘skid’, arguing the X5 demonstrated “a slight reduction in traction”, as the technical ability of the xDrive system was highlighted.

BMW also argued the cars were driven in a safe and responsible manner, and that the Blur anthem was selected to appeal to its target audience, and was unlikely to imply the cars were driven at a high speed.

The ASA ignored BMW’s defence and deemed the ad breeched three advertising codes, despite the fact just one person, out of the estimated 9.3 million who viewed the ad (and all had better things to do) complained.

The ban seems even more ludicrous Australia’s Advertising Standard Bureau banning of a YouTube video showing a Bentley Continental GT clocking 330km/h on the Northern Territory’s Stuart Highway under controlled conditions.

The ASB ruled that while the Stuart Highway had unrestricted speed limits at the time, the video breached rules which state a car cannot be promoted driving at greater than the speed limit in any state where the ad was published.

And late last year, the ASB banned a Lexus LC500 commercial because it showed the rear wheels spinning momentarily. According to the ASB the Lexus ad “clearly depicts speeding and rapid acceleration, which is illegal, dangerous and against the advertising code”.

Even the battery-powered BMW i3 wasn’t immune from the fun stopperswho last year banned its ad for portraying “unsafe” and “reckless” driving” because another vehicle is shown spinning its wheels. 

Meanwhile, in America …