Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

BMW advert BANNED after ‘irresponsible revving’ sounds spark furious complaint

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The advertisement was for the new BMW M brand and opened with the revving sound of a car engine. The revving of the engine was then broken by a voice-over, that said: “We could use big words like striking, muscular or captivating to tell you what it looks like. Or we could use an alluring combination of colourful words to describe exactly what it feels like.

“But all you really want to hear is this.”

Then the sound of the advert immediately changes to a louder car engine revving, that a listener has complained about.

Then the disgruntled listener complained that the revving car engine sounds were irresponsible.

The BMW M is the car manufacturer’s sub-brand for their performance and sports car range.

The engine of this new BMW would make a different revving sound to that of a non-performance car.

BMW said that the revving sound used in the advertisement was recorded when the car was static.

The firm stressed that the car was not being driven at speed or with rapid acceleration.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said they would have to uphold particular rules and ban the advertisement.

The ASA said that motoring advertisements must not demonstrate power, acceleration or handling characteristics.

The ASA code also stated that advertisements must not refer to speed in a way that might condone or encourage “dangerous, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible driving”.

The code also outlines that speed or acceleration claims must not be the main selling message of an advertisement.

The ASA however said it did not consider that the advert specifically made speed and acceleration the main message.


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But the standards authority said that the advertisement referenced speed in a way that would encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving.

The ASA said: “However, because the ad demonstrated the power of the car, not in the clear context of safety, and in a way that suggested excitement, we concluded it was in breach of the code.”

The ASA ruled that the advert must not be broadcast again in its current form.

It added: “We told BMW UK to ensure that future ads did not demonstrate power, except in the clear context of safety – or in a way that suggested excitement.”

Responding to this a BMW spokeswoman said: “BMW UK accepts the decision of the ASA and this advert will not be broadcast again.”

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