News: BMW M4 convertible ad banned for encouraging “unsafe driving”

Seventh time in 12 months car maker has clashed with ad police


AN ADVERTISEMENT for the BMW M4 convertible has been banned for encouraging drivers to put their foot down.

In its ruling, the Advertising Standards Authority said BMW’s commercial, which featured scenes of the car being driven on a road and a racing track, encouraged unsafe driving. It is the seventh time in 12 months that the car maker has fallen foul of the industry watchdog.

The ASA’s investigation was triggered by a complaint that the advertisement was socially irresponsible.

The advertisement flicks rapidly between the M4 being driven sedately on a country road and aggressively on a racetrack by a driver wearing a helmet and overalls. At such times, the car is shown cutting corners, skidding and driving fast. The sound of the vehicle accelerating is also audible.

In its ruling the ASA said that it was unclear in some shots “whether the car was on a track or public road” and that “the intercutting of the footage drew clear links between the road and racing use of the car, and therefore condoned the use of the car in the manner shown by both drivers.”

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“We considered that the majority of the advertisement focused on the way the car was being driven, and its performance and speed,” it said. “The advertisement encouraged unsafe and irresponsible driving.”

BMW denied the two driving styles were blurred. It said: “The advertisement differentiated clearly between the sedate cruising of one M4 on public roads, where the Highway Code was obeyed at all times, and the on-track element.”

The ASA rejected BMW’s argument and, in addition to banning the advertisement, told the company to ensure that future commercials did not link racetrack and road driving styles in a way that focused on speed, or encouraged a manner of driving that would be irresponsible.

BMW accepted the ASA’s decision and said it would not challenge it.

In July, a single complaint led the ASA to ban Jaguar from showing an advertisement for the F-type. As with all the watchdog’s bans, they are enforceable only on UK media, allowing companies to run their advertisements on foreign media outlets such as YouTube.

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