ASA rebukes BMW for irresponsible tweet

BMW ASA TweetThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has upheld a complaint against BMW UK for a tweet which said the “M235i promises you one hell of a ride.”

The tweet included the M235i’s 4.8 second 0-62mph time and showed a picture of the car turning into a corner, with a blurred background.

As it was a promoted tweet, it appeared on timelines other than those of its followers, including that of the complainant.

The Twitter user who complained challenged that the central message of the ad was the fast acceleration of the car, and that it encouraged excessive speed.

BMW contested that the tweet focussed on the driving dynamics of the car, including its handling and sporty driving characteristics, but neither the text nor image suggested the car was driving faster than the speed limit on a public road.

While the ASA agreed with BMW that the highest speed quoted in the tweet was 62mph and the image didn’t depict excessive speed, it did believe that the cumulative effect of references of speed in the text and the image meant that speed and acceleration were main messages of the advert.

Because of this, it breached a rule saying that although speed or acceleration information can be given in an advert, it must not be the main message of marketing communications.

The ASA has told BMW that the advert must not appear again in its current form, and the manufacturer should ensure not to make speed or acceleration the main message of their future marketing communications.

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