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Don’t be dazzled…….

27 Jul 2016

In a recent adjudication, the ASA has told BMW (UK) Ltd that its ads must not exaggerate the performance of its High Beam Assist technology.

A radio advert for the BMW 1 Series car with high-beam assist technology, broadcast on 11 February 2016, stated "Oncoming traffic is never dazzled and you can keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road".

Essentially, High Beam Assist technology works by the full beam coming on at night time and a sensor, which monitors for traffic, automatically adjusting the light beam to avoid affecting other drivers. 

The ASA investigated the claims made by BMW in the radio ad and concluded that BMW has breached BCAP Code rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation), 3.12 (Exaggeration) and 20.5 (Motoring).

The ASA concluded that consumers would interpret "oncoming traffic is never dazzled" as an absolute claim; i.e. oncoming drivers were never dazzled under any circumstances.

Whilst the ASA accepted that drivers were unlikely to be dazzled on straight roads it did not consider BMW’s claim could apply to curved roads as the sensor would only detect oncoming traffic approaching from around a bend at much shorter distances.   This would inevitably cause a delay to any adjustment to the full beam and could potentially dazzle an oncoming driver.  The ASA therefore concluded the claim was misleading and not substantiated.

This adjudication highlights the importance of making sure all claims in your advertising are accurate, substantiated and verifiable.  Prior to any broadcast or publication it is essential to make sure you can back up all claims.  Misleading advertising claims can be damaging to a brand’s image and reputation  so its essential to get them right.  As is evident from this adjudication, consumers’ perception of advertising claims are of paramount importance to the ASA.

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