The world, or more specifically, Australia, has gone mad. No, I don’t think you understand me. It really has. You live in the wrong country if you’re a car enthusiast.
I mean these days we can have swearing on the radio. We can watch people doing all manner of unthinkable things to others as entertainment on television.
Yet here, Down Under, two people out of 22 million (yes, only two) complain to the Advertising Standards Bureau about art, and all hell breaks loose.
You know what I’m talking about – the BMW Z4 Art of Driving advertisement. The one where the guy paints the MDF boards with a Z4’s tyres. See above, if you’re not offended by a car going sideways.
Here’s what staggers me. I can understand if 10 per cent of the population got upset over the ad, even five per cent. I’m stretching it if I say even two per cent, but it wasn’t even one per cent.
Not even half a percent of the population. In fact it was 0.0000091 per cent of Australia that complained, which is basically, well two people.
So, virtually no-one complained, and the ASB pulls the advert. I mean, seriously?
I don’t know about you, but as soon as I saw the advert, I headed out to an abandoned warehouse, stole 100 litres of paint, ripped off 30 MDF boards, and broke into someone’s house and took the keys to their Z4.
Then, I arranged a world famous artist, made sure the place was completely closed off to the public, and went ballistic.
Oh yes, that advert made me do horrible, horrible things.
Now the strange thing is, there’s currently an advertisement for Nurofen Zavance, which shows two cars racing dangerously close to each other, the speedo clearly shows them doing at least 190km/h, which is WAY over the speed limit here, and no-one says a thing.
Isn’t that the same? It’s also under controlled conditions. It’s also hooning. I guess that’s next on the chopping block.
It kills me that the Z4 shown was going so slow it’s not funny – even when it was drifting. It also was in an environment where the car could not hurt anyone.
Programs like Underbelly which glorifies hooning during a car chase are happily shown. I had a chat to BMW’s spokesperson, Toni Andreevski, about the whole issue.
“We’re really disappointed. I mean, you can show V8 Supercars, drifting series, Top Gear and the like, but who would have thought our advert would be caught up in Victoria’s hoon legislation. We believe most viewers can distinguish between fantasy and reality. It’s about getting the balance right.”
Hear, hear, Toni. The funniest thing is, though, that in a way, the ban has actually been good for BMW.
Traffic to that advert on the BMW Australia website tripled on the day the ban was enforced. Which means that it suddenly became an underground hit. YouTube traffic also increased that day.
If you go to the BMW Australia headquarters in Mulgrave, Melbourne, you can see some of the actual boards that were ‘painted’ by the Z4.
It’s interesting to note that BMW is Australia’s longest term provider of manufacturer-based driver training. Yet Australia is the only country in the world that banned the ad.
You live in the wrong country if you’re a car enthusiast. Excuse me while I breathe deeply.
“Count backwards from 10, Karl. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6…”