BMW commercial banned by ad watchdog for promoting street racing

A video ad for BMW’s i3 model has been banned by the Ad Standards Board for portraying “unsafe” and “reckless” driving.

The ad featured the BMW line up against a US-style muscle car before both race off the lights.

The ad features the mssage: “Can lightweight beat heavyweight? From 0-100KM/H in 6.9 SEC. Born electric. The all new electric BMW i3.”

A complaint to the ad watchdog said promoting street racing and speeding is “highly offensive” and many Australians have lost family and friends due to these unsafe road activities.

Responding to the complaint BMW claimed the ad intended to depict an old car versus a new electric one “to endorse the power of electricity is better than a classic car, and to discourage vehicles that pollute the environment and create emissions, not to depict a drag race.”

The brand also claimed the acceleration shown is not “excessive” and the driver does not lose control of the vehicle. However, the ad shows the older car fishtail slightly as it leaves the lights.

The Ad Standards Board highlighted the burnout performed during the ad.

“Road rules clearly state that a person must not drive a vehicle in a way that wilfully makes unnecessary noise or smoke and considered that as the driver of one of the vehicle deliberately accelerates creating smoke and loss of traction, and this is a depiction in breach of the road rules,” the Board noted.

The Board upheld the complaint for unsafe driving, but accepted the actual speeds of the cars were not depicted saying:  “there is no accurate sense of the speed the vehicle is travelling, therefore the vehicles are not shown being driven in excess of applicable legal speed limits in the footage”.

BMW said the ad has been discontinued.


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