BMW slammed over Soweto billboard

2014-07-01 08:31

German vehicle manufacturer BMW was rebuked over a controversial billboard advert featuring a Mini Cooper which was placed on the outskirts of Soweto.

The advert featured an outline of a Mini Cooper, with a large hole where the car should be, the Sowetan reported today.

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 school children and seriously injured two others in 2010 while racing in their 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 ASA decided not to rule on the matter after BMW promised not to use the phrase “drive it like it’s stolen”.

The authority noted that, subsequent to the complaints, the billboard had been stolen.

BMW defended the advert and said the wording was chosen after the original billboard was stolen.

It said the phrase “drive it like it’s stolen” was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the theft.

Edward Makwana, for BMW, told the newspaper that his company welcomed ASA’s decision.

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