Last month the Advertising Standards Bureau upheld a complaint that the BMW Z4 “art of driving” television commercial portrayed behaviour that would be deemed a “very serious driving offence” if it took place on Australian roads.
BMW have agreed to stop the ad going to air, however the commercial can still be viewed on the BMW Australia website. Sample footage of the Z4 painting with its wheels was first posted on AUSmotive in December 2008.
The full report from the ASB, which shows text from the original complainant and BMW’s response, can be downloaded here (76kb PDF).
It is clear the commercial is not depicting regular road driving. A point highlighted by BMW in their defence of the complaint. However, this was not enough and the commerical was found to breach section 2c of the FCAI Voluntary Code of Practice for Motor Vehicle Advertising.
That is, if the actions depicted in the ad “were to take place on a road or road related area, (that they would) breach any Commonwealth law”.
The fact that some killjoy found it fit to complain about this ad in the first place is disturbing enough. But the fact that protocols are in place that saw this worldwide advertising campaign removed from Australian television screens is, simply, laughable.
BMW are well known for both the safety of their vehicles and their Driver Training education programs. They are clearly not an organisation that exists to promote hooning. Nor do they have anything to gain by doing so. That they have, in effect, been labelled as hoons is verging on outrageous.
Moreover, for a small sum of money one can legally partake in similar activities as depicted in this ad under the supervision of independent and respected driver training instructors.
AUSmotive finds this ruling by the ASB unfathomable. As a sign of protest against this decision AUSmotive will feature the “offending” footage on the first day of every month for the rest of 2009.
BMW’s press release from April this year announcing the “art of driving” campaign can be read after the jump.
“An Expression of Joy”
14.04.2009 â€“ “An Expression of Joy”: The global launch campaign for the new BMW Z4 portrays driving as an art form – and presents the roadster as an artist on four wheels
- The motif created by the new roadster is the core theme for all marketing and communications activities worldwide
Munich. Even before it reaches the market, the new BMW Z4 is literally making its mark. For the first time ever, the core theme of the communications campaign that will launch the new BMW Z4 is a motif created by the vehicle itself. Instead of a paintbrush, South African street artist Robin Rhode used the tyres of the BMW Z4 roadster to apply explosive, vibrantly coloured designs to an enormous canvas â€“ in this case a gigantic medium density fibreboard â€“ with tyre tracks of precisely executed circles, arcs and lines in yellow, blue and red. The outcome is â€œAn Expression of Joyâ€ â€“ just like the BMW Z4 itself. The roadster unites aesthetic appeal and dynamic performance; it epitomises the qualities of the BMW brand by combining the ultimate driving experience with maximum sporting potential and distinctive design. More than anything, the new BMW Z4 is an expression of sheer driving pleasure. The head of marketing for the BMW brand in Germany, Manfred BrÃ¤unl, is confident that: â€œThe BMW Z4 embodies the values of the BMW brand â€“ design, youthfulness, dynamic performance â€“ more than any other vehicle. The launch campaign for the new roadster expresses these values exceptionally well. This campaign will also reach out to new target groups who appreciate the high standards of elegance and value, suitability for everyday driving and comfort which the new BMW Z4 can easily fulfil.â€
Motif created by the BMW Z4 as global campaign theme
The 1800 mÂ² motif â€“ featuring the BMW Z4â€™s brightly coloured tyre tracks on a white background â€“ and the process by which it was created, will be the subject of all communications activities for the launch of the new roadster worldwide. This creative key visual is ideal for use in print ads and brochures, as well as for trade shows and guerrilla marketing. For instance, the BMW Z4â€™s world premiere at the NAIAS International Auto Show in Detroit incorporated original sections of the motif. There is currently a further installation at the Grand Central Terminal in New York; extracts from the campaign are also being shown at the â€œBMW Markenschaufensternâ€ in Munich and Berlin as well as at BMW Welt.
The creative process behind â€œAn Expression of Joyâ€
The commercial that will be used for advertising worldwide illustrates how the huge canvas was created and shows â€œAn Expression of Joyâ€ live in action. The briefing given to Robin Rhode and the director of the TV commercial, Jake Scott, was to present the new generation of the BMW Z4 in a completely different setting, in a way that would fuse innovation and artistic vision. Scott and his team had just twelve hours to document the artistic process on location at a studio in Los Angeles. The challenge was to get the right shot the first time round â€“ repeat attempts were not an option on a shoot like this. The new BMW Z4 also had to be controlled with absolute precision: The driver had to apply a total of 160 litres of paint â€“ sprayed onto the tyres from nozzles mounted behind its wheels â€“ precisely according to artist Robin Rhodeâ€™s directions across the oversized canvas: a difficult task which the stunt driver was nevertheless able to master, having already proven his skills behind the wheel of a MINI on the film set of â€œThe Italian Jobâ€. A total of 45 cameras captured the Z4â€™s movements simultaneously.
Print ads also develop the track theme with the new roadster standing on sections of the motif it created, paired with various slogans along the lines of: â€œYour 306-horsepower paintbrushâ€ or â€œEvidence that engineering is an art formâ€. These slogans establish the connection between â€œAn Expression of Joyâ€ and the new BMW Z4.
To mark the launch of the roadster, a game entitled â€œBMW Z4 â€“ An Expression of Joyâ€ has been developed for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The game focuses on the BMW Z4 driving experience and features a flexible 3D auto configurator. Highly-detailed 3D models and animations were developed from the roadsterâ€™s original computer-aided 3D design data. Players first configure their individual BMW Z4 and design their own five-colour motif by driving the virtual roadster across a white background. The motifâ€™s design varies according to the vehicleâ€™s speed and curve radius, making every picture unique. The game, which has been available for the iPhone and iPod Touch since March 10th, has already been downloaded well over 400,000 times.
Videos and background on the new BMW Z4 available online
BMWâ€™s online video portals www.bmw-tv.de and www.bmw-web.tv/z4 offer five features with more information on the new BMW Z4. For instance, BMW Groupâ€™s new head of design, Adrian van Hooydonk, explains how the roadsterâ€™s unique design took shape and talks about the roadster winning the Red Dot Design Award. There is a video of the new BMW Z4â€™s world premiere in Detroit; also, the design process and the concept behind the BMW Z4 are discussed in more detail. These features are proving very popular and have already been viewed more than 800,000 times since December of last year.
The new BMW Z4â€™s multi-coloured tyre tracks are perfect for different kinds of guerrilla marketing. For instance, one idea might be to plaster the colourful tyre tracks right across the side of a building, with the tracks leading down to the road where a BMW Z4 is parked or to a BMW dealership. Customers can expect to experience unconventional marketing in familiar surroundings.
BMW and contemporary art
The BMW Group has been closely linked with contemporary art for many years. For more than thirty years the companyâ€™s Art Cars have presented outstanding contemporary artists with the three-dimensional surface of various sports cars as a canvas for their work. The BMW Art Car Collection has since gained international renown and comprises the creations of well-known artists such as Andy Warhol, Frank Stella, Alexander Calder and Olafur Eliasson. Today, commitment to the arts is an integral part of corporate communications at the BMW Group.
The new BMW Z4
The new BMW Z4 is the only vehicle in its segment to combine classic roadster proportions with a seating position close to the rear axle, rear-wheel drive and a fully-automatic retractable hardtop. The new BMW Z4 offers all the driving pleasure of a BMW Roadster with particularly refined and stylish flair. Driving with the roof down, this two-seater offers a refreshingly intense experience of the sunshine and the wind rushing by â€“ and driving with the hardtop closed, it provides all the comfort of a Premium Sports CoupÃ©. With this diversity and wide range of qualities, the new BMW Z4 represents the re-birth of the roadster. The design of the new Z4 is characterised by classic details interpreted in a new and contemporary style. The appeal of this two-seater lies in its unique combination of elegance, agility, and supreme comfort. The aluminium shells of the two-piece lightweight hardtop come to rest in the roof compartment, thereby maximising space. Even with the roof closed, the new Z4 retains the proportions typical of a genuine roadster. With these features, the new model is the successor to both the BMW Z4 Roadster and the BMW Z4 CoupÃ©.
Anyone who appreciates the open-air feeling characteristic of a BMW convertible can look forward to the new BMW Z4, which will be available at BMW branches and dealers from May 9th. This aesthetic, dynamic roadster will definitely leave its mark wherever it goes â€“ not just on the launch campaign, but on those who see it and drive it.
The American agency GSD&M from Austin, Texas was responsible for creating and implementing the campaign.