BMW's (Ob)noxious Ad Shot Down

Cammy Corrigan
by Cammy Corrigan
bmw s ob noxious ad shot down

The RAC (that’s the Royal version of the AAA, in case you don’t know) reports that BMW has run into trouble with the UK Advertising Standards Agency (ASA, that’s no film speed in the UK) with one of their adverts. In it, BMW claimed that its Z4 roadster had low levels of CO2 (you know CO2? That obnoxious gas which every government in the world is trying to reduce/tax?). The advert reads “Joy makes the most of every drop…So you can step on the accelerator, knowing Joy will minimise the CO2 emissions.” The advert ends with “BMW EfficientDynamics, Less emissions, More driving pleasure.” This riled two people enough to complain to the ASA. Now what could have been so contentious…?

Well, the answer to that question lies in the small print of the advert. In it, BMW states quite clearly that the car in question (a BMW Z4 sDrive 35is Roadster) emits 210g/km. Now to give this some context, 210g/km is band K in the UK car tax system (did I mention tax?), only 2 below the highest tax band. Hardly a Toyota Prius. Well, it seems BMW had a different interpretation of the advert. They argued that they were comparing the Z4 against the previous generation Z4. They also argued that the Z4 had the lowest emissions of any of its competitors’ comparable models. The ASA came down in favour of the complainers, citing that readers were likely to assume that BMW’s claims were a comparison against all cars and not just cars in its class. “Because an emission rate of 210 g/km was relatively high for any car, despite being lower than BMW’s previous model and some competitors’ similar specification vehicles, we concluded that the ad was likely to mislead without further qualification.” ASA said. It does make me wonder, though. Who’s looking at an advert for a sportscar and thinking “Wow! I’m killing the planet with my Insight! I’ve gotta get me that 3 litre, 6 cylinder roadster!”.

Wasn’t that one also banned? Picture courtesy

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2 of 4 comments
  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Jul 22, 2010

    I love that they have laws against misleading advertising. That's like laws against fish breathing water.

  • Ott Ott on Jul 22, 2010

    It's easier to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission.

  • ToolGuy The dealer knows best. 🙂
  • ToolGuy Cool.
  • ToolGuy This truck is the perfect size, and the fuel economy is very impressive.-This post sponsored by ExxonMobil
  • ToolGuy If I were Jeep, I would offer a version with better NVH and charge more for it.And then I would offer a version with worse NVH, and charge more for it. (There is an audience for both.)
  • Szi65724742 Not saying dude's not a douche, but Google Maps doesn't show a stop sign at any of the three Walmarts dumping onto 60 - there's a stop-line at best. And while you nerd-rage at a random dude in a truck, a similar thing happens ALL. THE. TIME here - get Prius'd and Tesla'd every single day. I got hit while stopped at a stoplight. 7:30am, sunny morning, clear, straight sightlines for a couple miles. Was a loaded down work van. I don't rage and yell to get those off the streets. Blame the drivers, not the vehicles.