BMW's newly prohibited radio advertising in the United Kingdom has far surpassed all expectations. The radio commercial appeared to be entirely innocuous, yet it was enough to elicit a single complaint, prompting the UK's advertising regulatory authority to take action.
So, what exactly is this heinous, reckless advertisement that BMW attempted to impose on unsuspecting listeners? Unfortunately, we can't find a recording of the original radio advertisement , but a story from the UK's Express gives a transcription that goes somewhat like this:
"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 colorful words to describe exactly what it feels like. But all you really want to hear is this."
The sound of a revving motor filled the radio, and here is where at least one listener took exception. According to the article, a single complaint was filed with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) alleging that the radio advertisement was reckless, and the group actually supported that complaint. We're not sure whether there were any further complaints.
BMW attempted to defend their commercial by claiming that the sound was captured while the car was motionless and that the sound clip was just around a second long. Nonetheless, ASA regulations for automobile ads appear to prohibit any reference to performance, handling, or activities that may portray a car as thrilling.
Given that this was an advertisement for BMW's M division, which works only to create thrilling vehicles, we can't fathom how anybody could promote in such a restricted atmosphere. However, the ASA's extremely questionable choice to act on the purported complaint of a single person has suddenly rocketed this basic UK radio commercial to global visibility. As a result, we think that any initial resentment at BMW regarding the choice has been replaced by grins all around.