BMW's 'daring' TV ad banned for encouraging dangerous driving

BMW's TV ad promoting the BMW 3 Series has been banned for showing off features of the car that could encourage dangerous driving.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the ad "implicitly challenged the viewer to speed around corners" and said it must not be broadcast again in its current form.

The 30-second spot, created in Germany and adapted for the UK by FCB Inferno, said "curves invite you in". It began with a 3 Series being driven along a country road and, as the car approached the coastlines, the driver changes gear and the tachometer’s reading increased. 

The ad then cuts to a woman riding a rollercoaster and the voiceover says "curves help you escape". Next there is a shot of a man standing on top of a cliff, facing the sea, before the voice-over adds: "Curves inspire you and definitely dare you."

Three people complained to the ASA saying the ad breached the BCAP advertising code because it condoned dangerous driving.

When contacted by the ASA, BMW said the phrase "[curves] definitely dare you" was said to demonstrate the enjoyment of driving, rather than to drive fast or aggressively. It said the reference to "dare" was to challenge drivers to enjoy their journey. 

Clearcast agreed that the visuals and phrases used by the voiceover did not encourage dangerous driving.

But in its ruling, published today, the ASA said the shots used in the ad made it look like it was being driven at "considerable speed", which mixed with the rollercoaster and cliff jump shots, likened the drive to "adrenaline-inducing" experiences.

The ASA said: "The voiced line 'curves … definitely dare you' further reinforced this impression and implied that driving at speed around twisting roads would be a daring, exciting and challenging experience." 

The spot must not appear again in its current form, the ads watchdog concluded.

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