This BMW Ad Was Banned In the U.K. For Promoting Dangerous Driving

The ad shows nothing more than cars driving normally in various slippery conditions.

America is the land of freedom. You're free to ride your Harley-Davidson, put whatever you want on your Maine license plate, or show TV commercials with cars drifting and performing stunts. But in the U.K., it seems that you can't even show a BMW driving down a slippery road without attracting the ire of advertising watchdogs, reports the BBC.

Last November, BMW aired an ad with scenes that cut between kids playing in various conditions and BMWs driving through similar conditions, all to the soundtrack of Song 2 by Blur. The Advertising Standards Authority has taken exception to this, claiming that the ad promotes dangerous driving.

BMW claims that that the ad demonstrates the capabilities of its xDrive all-wheel-drive system in a wide variety of challenging conditions. Additionally, most of the scenes were filmed away from public roads, with only a couple of shots showing a BMW driving sedately on a rainy road.

But ASA claims that the fast-paced editing and shots of kids playing recklessly, as they do, encourages drivers to behave similarly. "We considered that those scenes reinforced the fast nature of the ad and were likely to be understood as a metaphor for the sense of excitement and fun attributed to the driving experience using the xDrive system in various driving conditions," says ASA's ruling on the matter. As a result, this commercial may not be aired in the U.K. again.

Only in one scene on an extremely muddy trail does an X5 appear to slip slightly to the left ever so briefly. Such a slip is normal in such muddy conditions, and well within the parameters of what BMW's traction and stability control would allow and correct.

What do you think? Is BMW promoting dangerous driving by showing its xDrive-equipped cars attacking such treacherous conditions? Or is it all, like the famous British play, Much Ado About Nothing?