They ban a BMW ad because the sound of an engine is “irresponsible”


ACD avatar ACD July 26, 2021

A radio advertisement for BMW has been banned in the UK because a listener complained that the engine sound was ‘irresponsible’.

Sometimes, advertising in the media unleashes contrasting opinions: admiration, rejection and even, as in the case of the story we are telling you today, it can even be prohibited. This is what happened to a BMW ad on the radio, which has been withdrawn after a listener complained that the sound of the revving engine was “irresponsible.”

The announcement for the BMW M brand, which was heard in March, began with the sound of a car engine before a voice-over said: “We could use big words like flashy, muscular or captivating to tell you what it is like, or use a seductive combination of flowery vocabulary to describe exactly how you feel. But all you want to hear is this, ‘and at that moment the more powerful sound of a car engine.

Because of the sound of the engine

BMW M5 Competition

2 photos BMW M5 Competition


At this a British listener complained that the advertisement and the sound of the car engine were irresponsible. In its defense, BMW explained that BMW M was its sub-brand for sports and high-performance cars, and that the engine made a different sound than a non-high-performance car.

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At the same time, the Bavarian brand claimed that eTotal thruster noise lasted less than a second within a 30-minute ad. and that it was evident that the sound was recorded when the vehicle was stationary and did not suggest that the car was driving at speed or fast acceleration.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), after admitting the complaint, stated that the standards state that motor ads must not show power, acceleration or driving characteristicsexcept in a clear security context.

The code also states that ads must not refer to speed in a way that they can approve or encourage dangerous driving, competitive, inconsiderate or irresponsible, and that claims about speed or acceleration should not be the primary sales message of an ad.

The ASA has explained that it did not consider that the ad made speed and acceleration the main message of the ad or referred to speed in a way that would encourage dangerous or irresponsible driving. However, as the ad showed the car’s power, not in the clear context of safety, and in a way that suggested excitement, we concluded that it violated the code«.

The court ruled that the ad was not to be reissued in its current formHe 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 emotion).”

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