Tony O'Kane | Jun 29, 2009

BMW HAS DRAWN the ire of the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau for one of its advertising campaigns. Specifically, the 2009 BMW Z4's "Expression of Joy" series.

The advertisment, the brainchild of South African artist Robin Rhode and director Jake Scott, shows a Z4 in a large warehouse, pirouetting and sliding around a white floor and laying down tracks with paint-covered tyres.

While clearly a display of artistic expression (albeit one that uses a 224kW paintbrush), the globally-distributed ad has still managed to attract complaints from Australian viewers for allegedly promoting "reckless and menacing driving" and encouraging hoonish behaviour.

While the Z4 depicted spends the greater part of the advert in sideways oversteer (the frictional properties of paint are rubbish, so we've heard), one must surely wonder why anyone would feel aggrieved by what is patently advertising fantasy.

But the complaints have won out, and the FCAI's Advertising Code of Practice (which forbids "hoonish" displays) has been invoked to can the TV ads.

2009_BMW_Z4_EOJ_ad_01

The print and online versions have escaped the wrath of the ASB, but viewing it on free-to-air or pay TV is strictly verboten from now on.

In its response to the complaints, BMW said that it believed the ad to be fully compliant with the Code of Practice, and that it was clearly a work of fantasy - not petrol-headed impulse.

"We believe our TV and Online commercial fully comply with the FCAI Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising and can be clearly distinguished by the viewer as an artistic performance and not reality," said BMW's official response to the complaints.

"The performance takes place in a controlled environment (a studio warehouse) which is clearly shown at the beginning of the TVC. The car drives across the canvas creating patterns with paint – it does not suggest a real-life driving situation.

"It is clear from the driver’s expression that he is concentrating creating a specific result and not driving recklessly. "There is no sign of the driver being out of control... art is the context of the campaign."

2009_BMW_Z4_EOJ_ad_03

Is there a case for BMW to appeal? The company has decided not to contest the ASB's ruling, but it seems that art in advertising can be thwarted by an over-reactive nanny brigade should a hint of oversteer make it onto a TV screen.

You can see what all the fuss is about at BMW's Z4 minisite, here. TAGS: 2009 bmw z4, advertising, ASB, BMW,Z4, Ad, SLUG: BMW "Expression of Joy" Advert Canned By Advertising Standards Bureau

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