BMW has been reprimanded after one of its TV adverts was judged to have promoted “faster, dangerous and irresponsible driving”.
The ad was designed to show off the company’s four-wheel drive system.
The UK’s advertising watchdog said it feared the mix of fast-paced scenes – which intercut images of the car skidding with young children doing likewise in mud – would encourage dangerous manoeuvres on public roads.
It has banned any further screenings.
The 30-second-long advert was originally shown in November, and had been seen by an estimated 9.3 million people, the Advertising Standards Authority said.
It is the third time in about a year that the ASA has upheld complaints about BMW’s marketing efforts.
The ASA noted that in the latest case, BMW had claimed that all the cars shown had been driven “in a safe and responsible” manner, and had said that several of the scenes had taken place on private dirt tracks rather than public roads.
Furthermore, the manufacturer had denied its cars had truly skidded, instead describing the way their tyres had appeared to slip as “a slight reduction in traction”.
However, the ASA said the fast editing cuts and use of Blur’s Song 2 had given the impression that the vehicles had indeed been driven at “considerable speed”.
Moreover, it insisted there had been at least one brief shot of a car appearing to skid.
And it added that by switching back and forth between images of public roads and private locations, viewers would be encouraged to believe they could safely emulate the dangerous behaviour during their everyday drives.
In addition to forbidding the ad from being run again in its current form, the ASA has also instructed the German company to avoid showing off its cars’ handling characteristics “in the context of excitement” in the future.