A press ad for the brand’s BMW 760Li xDrive, created by FCB Inferno, ran in the Telegraph Magazine on 14 January and featured the message as a headline.
This was followed by the message: "Introducing the BMW M760Li xDrive. M Performance TwinPower Turbo technology. 6.6 litre V12. 610 hp. 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. For some, the climb to the top is quicker".
One person complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that BMW had made speed the focus of the ad, and that the message about losing manners encouraged irresponsible driving.
In response, BMW said the phrase "for some, the climb to the top is quicker" referred not to the car’s impressive acceleration, but to the fast career progress of the brand’s high-net worth target audience.
BMW said that the claim "Luxury just lost its manners" was an example of advertising puffery, which did not conflict with the CAP Code. The headline, it said, was a subjective marketing term that was intended to suggest the model redefined the concept of a luxury car.
But the ASA said that, given the context of the ad, both lines would be taken to refer to the car’s acceleration and the power of its engine – while the headline would be understood to mean that "because of the car’s power and acceleration, drivers did not have to have regard for, or show manners to, other road users by, for instance, driving aggressively."
The watchdog ruled that the ad breached the CAP Code rules on motoring, and ordered that it not be used again in its current form.