A complaint by an Australian movie-goer has put the brakes on an extended in-theater ad campaign by BMW, and drawn the attention of the country's Advertising Standards Board. According to the anonymous complaint, the ad "portrays an unfavorable message, contrary to safe and sensible driving."

The ASB upheld the complaint, which said the ad for the new M235i showed driving "typical of hoon activity," thanks to the burnouts, dusty drifts and runs up to redline. It's that last one that seems to have gotten the spot in the most trouble, with the ASB acknowledging that even though the car wasn't shown breaking the speed limit, the ad was in violation of a voluntary code of conduct for automotive advertising, according to Australia's Go Auto.

BMW doesn't seem to agree, pointing out that the ad uses creative editing, aggressive camera angles and other filming tricks to "add visual impact."

"We would also add that these creative measures are likely to have been exaggerated from the viewer's perspective in a cinema environment with Dolby surround sound and high definition, super-size cinema screens," BMW's Australian outfit said, according to Go Auto.

It's unclear what movies the ad was shown before, but as BMW points out, considering the "cinematic environment," it suggests the case "be dismissed summarily as a frivolous complaint."

We'd be inclined to agree with BMW, largely due to the setting. Considering some of the stuff that happens in movies today, showing a bit of sliding about and some wide-open-throttle runs is hardly the worst thing people will encounter.

Of course, we'd like to know what you think. Scroll down and have a look at the advertisement, then be sure to vote in our unofficial poll on the matter. You can then continue the debate down in Comments.




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  • 50 Comments
      William
      • 7 Months Ago
      Kinda boring.
      Matt Mossberg
      • 7 Months Ago
      Here in America we have ads featuring fords flying, fiats driving off cliffs into water, kids driving corvettes, jags rushing through traffic to avoid the Brits, all of lexus's sedans doing burnouts and speeding in the sand, audis power sliding into parking spaces, family cars driving off of on ramps onto trains to get to a destination faster, santa speeding in a rwd Mercedes sl with snow on the ground and many many other "dangerous" tomfoolery in cars. If you cannot tell the difference between an ad, and real life, you should not have your drivers license.
        jonnybimmer
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Matt Mossberg
        To be fair, that ad with the kid driving the Corvette was eventually pulled, but otherwise you're pretty much spot on. You gotta appreciate 'Murica and its love of action-heavy driving (or at least lack of heavy-handed censorship when it comes to such action-heavy driving). UK gets a CG GT86 driving "sporty" and still gets banned and the US ads show the FRS straight-up drifting (not vaguely implied sliding angles) on mountain roads.
      Winnie Jenkems
      • 7 Months Ago
      Australia is off their rockers with the whole "hooning" thing. It's a CAR COMMERCIAL. Get over it, you ninny nannies.
      ihatedavebushell
      • 7 Months Ago
      What happened to Australia, they used to be cool and didn't let bureaucracy and lawyers tell them what to do - now they are no better than the rest of us being oppressed!
        Lachmund
        • 7 Months Ago
        @ihatedavebushell
        they are pretty much up there having one of the most conservative governments of the so called western world.
          Daniel D
          • 7 Months Ago
          @Lachmund
          That is trying to copy the Tea party. God knows why as no one voted for that and wants anything like it.
      SARRAS
      • 7 Months Ago
      From an Australian professional driver (Heavy Vehicle): the ASB isn't a government body its an industry self regulator and they have a habit of veering towards the very middle of vanilla when examining a complaint. Note also that it only takes ONE complaint! Yes clearly the advert is American, but that in itself isn't a moral crime nor benefit - though BMW were perhaps unwise not to put one of those "filmed under controlled conditions - do not attempt this at home" type riders under the images. The sensitive issue though, is perhaps what you call BMW ass-hattery. Join any conversation about traffic behaviour in Sydney and many will bemoan the behaviour of lunatic drivers in BMW's. Which is a pity really, and there is much to admire about the marque, but I think that this type of advert is touching the sensitive spot of the generally poor reputation that the average Joe holds of the brand and its drivers' behaviour. If you made the same advert for the Toyota FT86 I doubt that anyone would even notice a problem.
      rmt_1
      • 7 Months Ago
      I find it interesting that the Australian Advertising Standards Board is taking issue with BMW's ad, which clearly shows a left-hand drive car being driven through Southern California. Other than the L.A. aqueduct scenes, which I believe requires a film permit to use, I didn't see anything that would be illegal on regulated roadways by an average driver. While very stylish in its cinematography, it never shows, as the ASB admits, conduct that would violate the ASB's rules. Much in the way the "Hays Code" for motion pictures and the "Comics Code Authority" for comic books outlived their usefulness here in the U.S., the Australian Advertising Standards Board may have outlived their time of good service and are now just an impediment to legitimate creative expression.
        Daniel D
        • 7 Months Ago
        @rmt_1
        You are making the quite reasonable assumption that anyone with half a brain could see this is not a real life driving scenario for the average driver. Unfortunately one dumarse sitting in a cinema in Australia is all it takes these days. The PC brigade control everything in Australia now. Cars cannot and will not be see as fun, is the simple and not to tactful message constantly sent to Australians.
      sloanm101
      • 7 Months Ago
      How did Australia go from Crocodile Dundee, to a bunch of *******?
      Hernan
      • 7 Months Ago
      The only thing I take away from this video is: I WANT ONE. Most of the hooning takes place offroad, just add "professional driver, closed course, do not attempt." Done.
      bonehead
      • 7 Months Ago
      That music sucked. I couldn't make it through. Too painful
      jonnybimmer
      • 7 Months Ago
      Oh my gosh! Was that wheelspin? Better keep the Aussies because everyone knows if there's one country that hates burnouts, it's Australia. /S
      hip.chip.5
      • 7 Months Ago
      Can I sue Men at Work because when I went on vacation to Australia the women didn't glow and the men didn't thunder?
      King of Eldorado
      • 7 Months Ago
      I voted "yes" in the poll, meaning that yes, it probably violates Australia's rules as described in the article. It's a fairly typical performance car ad by USA standards though, and I have no problem with it myself.
        Making11s
        • 7 Months Ago
        @King of Eldorado
        I did the same for the same reasons. I disagree with the rule itself, not the board's decision. The board is clearly just following whatever rules there are.
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