BMW ad pulled for skateboarding scene

A complaint against an ad for BMW has been upheld by industry watchdog Ad Standards for depicting a young man riding a skateboard along the centre line of the road without a helmet.

A minority of the Ad Standards panel agreed the ad was stylised to create a sense of freedom and anticipation, and along with the disclaimer, the shot of the skateboarder would not be interpreted as promoting unsafe behaviour.

Australian road rules do not require skateboarders to wear a helmet, however the law would have been breached by the rider for skateboarding in the middle of the road.

A majority of the Ad Standards community panel determined the combination of the two would breach ‘prevailing community standards on health and safety’ and upheld the complaint the ad received on the issue.

The scene was only a four-second portion of the ad, which also featured a couple on a beach and in the water, people playing basketball, and a car parked on a cliff. The ad concluded with the message that ‘Joy is coming’.

The complainant said the ad would encourage copycat behaviour amongst children and young people.

“Young people who can be easily influenced to ‘copy-cat’ this action leading to injury or death not to mention the deleterious effect it would have on any motorist colliding with the person,” they said.

In its response, BMW argued that “whilst the road depicted in the advertisement has a dividing line, the skateboarder depicted in the advertisement has a clear line of sight for the road ahead and is not skateboarding around a blind corner or over a horizon”.

BMW also pointed out that the offending scene was accompanied by a disclaimer that said it was filmed under controlled conditions.

Considering the ad gave the impression that riding a skateboard in the middle of the road was a positive experience and may encourage young people to imitate it, the panel upheld the complaint.

The ad ran from 9 May to 31 May.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.