BMW online ad banned for encouraging unsafe driving

The Advertising Standards Authority has banned an online ad for BMW's M4 model for encouraging unsafe and irresponsible driving.

The online ad mixed footage of a BMW M4 being driven at high speeds on an empty racetrack with shots of another M4 being driven sensibly on a public road. At the end of the spot, both bars come to a halt in matching on-screen positions.

One person complained to the ASA, saying that the ad encouraged unsafe driving and was socially irresponsible. The regulatory body upheld the complaint.

BMW argued that it had stayed within the Cap Code by only showing the car travelling at speed (around 73 mph) when it was on the racetrack and that these scenes were clearly demarcated by, among other things, incorporating a driver dressed in protective clothing.

But the ASA rejected BMW’s argument, taking the view that in some shots the editing made it unclear whether the car was being driven on a track or on the highway.

The ASA found that the ad breached rules 19.2, 19.3 and 19.4 of the Cap Code and said it "must not appear again in its current form".

The body also warned BMW (UK) not to link "racetrack and road driving styles in a way that focused on speed or encourage a manner of driving that would be irresponsible" in the future.

BMW was reprimanded by the ASA last month for making speed and acceleration the main message of its marketing communications in a tweet that boasted about the performance of its M235i model.