BMW advert banned over ‘irresponsible’ engine revving

Listener complained after hearing the radio advert for the car manufacturer's M brand.

BMW advert banned over ‘irresponsible’ engine revving iStock

A radio advert for a BMW car has been banned after a listener complained about the sound of “irresponsible” engine revving.

The commercial for the M brand, heard in March, opened with the revving sound of a car engine before a voiceover took over.

It said: “We could use big words like striking, muscular or captivating to tell you what it looks like, or use an alluring combination of colourful words to describe exactly what it feels like. But all you really want to hear is this…”

At that point, the louder sound of a car engine revving was heard, which a listener complained was irresponsible.

BMW said that the BMW M was their sub-brand for their performance and sport car range, and the engine would make a different sound to that of a non-performance car.

They said the total engine noise lasted for less than a second of the 30-second ad and it was apparent that the sound was recorded when the vehicle was static, and was not suggesting that the car was being driven at speed.

Upholding the complaint, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said rules stated that motoring ads must not demonstrate power, acceleration or handling characteristics, except in a clear context of safety.

It ruled that the ad must not be broadcast again in its current form, adding: “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.”

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