November 4, 2015

ASA Bans BMW Ad After Complaints

The television ad for BMW has been banned for encouraging irresponsible and potentially dangerous driving. It showed the 3 series being driven through the countryside towards the coast while a voiceover said ‘curves invite you in’, before the driver changed gear and the tachometer rapidly increased.

The voiceover continued: ‘Curves inspire you, and definitely dare you. And the new BMW 3 series was made for every one of them.’ Three viewers complained that the ad condoned dangerous driving. BMW said the ad did not contain any references to driving at speed or aggressive driving, and the reference to ‘dare’ was simply to challenge drivers to enjoy their journey.

The Advertising Standards Authority noted that quick acceleration and excessive speed were not explicitly indicated in the ad. But they did find that the ad showed the car being driven along the coastal road from various angles, through a succession of fast-paced shots, including a few aerial shots tracking the vehicle’s movements and shots of a gear change and of the tachometer rapidly increasing. They said this gave the impression that the car depicted was being driven along at considerable speed.

ASA considered that the handling capability of the vehicle had not been communicated in a clear context of safety, which was a requirement of the code. Because the ad implicitly challenged the viewer to drive at speed around corners, ASA considered that it had also encouraged irresponsible and potentially dangerous driving.

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