A national press ad for BMW's 760Li xDrive model has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) for heroing speed and condoning irresponsible driving.
The print campaign, which featured in the Telegraph magazine in January, ran under the strapline 'Luxury Just Lost its Manners' and featured further text which read: 'Introducing the BMW M760Li xDrive. M Performance TwinPower [sic] Turbo technology. 6.6 litre V12. 610 hp. 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds. For some, the climb to the top is quicker'.
One reader challenged whether the automaker had made speed the main message of its ad. The same individual also noted that the Highway Code prohibited driving without reasonable consideration for other road users, therefore contesting whether the tagline 'Luxury just lost its manners' gave the green light for irresponsible driving.
BMW argued that its target audience for the campaign was ambitious “high-net-worth” business leaders and that the copy 'for some, the climb to the top is quicker' was not a reference to speed but to their audience reaching the top of their career ladder. The Telegraph did not believe the ad focused on speed, highlighting that 62mph was below the UK motorway speed limit.
In reference to the complaint around irresponsible driving BMW said the strapline of the ad was "an example of advertising puffery" that did not conflict with the CAP Code.
The regulator disagreed on both counts, banning the ad on the grounds that the cumulative effect of the claim 'Luxury just lost its manners', the vehicle’s acceleration and power statistics, and the assertion that 'for some, the climb to the top is quicker' made speed and acceleration the main message of the ad.
The watchdog also said, because of the car's power, readers would understand the tagline to mean drivers did not have to have regard for, or show manners to, other road users by, for instance, driving aggressively.
"We therefore concluded that the ad had condoned irresponsible driving by advocating driving without consideration for other road users," said the ASA, warning BMW to ensure that their ads did not condone or encourage driving without consideration for other road users.