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ASA censures BMW over dazzling advert

Date: 13 July 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

BMW has been forced to withdraw a radio advert for its 1-series lower medium model after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld a complaint against its headlights.

In the advert, which was broadcast on 11 February, the manufacturer stated that "Oncoming traffic is never dazzled and you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road."

The person complaining challenged whether the claim "Oncoming traffic is never dazzled" was misleading, with the ASA considering that customers were likely to interpret the claim "oncoming traffic is never dazzled" as an absolute claim, meaning the firm's High Beam Assist technology ensured that oncoming drivers were never dazzled under any circumstances.

BMW argued that the Oxford dictionary described "dazzle" as being 'if a strong light dazzles you, it is so bright that you cannot see for a short time', claiming that as the system reacted within a split second, they believed that at the distances concerned, it was not enough to blind someone for a short period of time, adding that the system is generally quicker to react to oncoming traffic than a human.

The ASA said the advert breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 20.5 (Motoring), and BMW was told not to exaggerate the capability of its High Beam Assist tech.