BMW rebuked over 'stolen!' ad

2014-07-01 09:01
A Mini Cooper (File)

A Mini Cooper (File) (Shutterstock)

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Johannesburg - Vehicle manufacturer BMW was rebuked over a controversial billboard featuring a Mini Cooper which was placed on the outskirts of Soweto, the Times reported on Tuesday.

The advert featured an outline of a Mini Cooper, with a large hole where the car should be. A banner across the advert read: "Drive it like it's stolen!"

Two residents complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and said the advert promotes and glorifies the stealing of cars, speeding and reckless driving, the newspaper reported.

Macbeth Ngema and Candice Nene said the billboard was especially distasteful as it was placed near where musician Molemo Jub Jub Maarohanye and his friend Themba Tshabalala killed four schoolchildren and seriously injured two others in 2010 while racing Mini Coopers.

The two were sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2012. Last month, judgment was reserved in an appeal against their conviction and sentences.

The women complained to the ASA about the "irresponsible and offensive" advert, but the authority decided not to rule on the matter after BMW promised not to use the offending phrase again.

The billboard had also - subsequent to the complaints - been stolen, the authority said.

BMW said the wording was chosen after the original billboard, which contained an image of a Mini Cooper, had also been stolen. The new billboard with the wording was thus a tongue-in-cheek reference to that theft, it said.

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