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Soweto residents complain that ‘Drive It Like It’s Stolen’ Mini Cooper billboard is distasteful [pic]
Posted by on Jul 2nd, 2014

A new billboard for Mini Cooper in Soweto has caused a bit of drama after residents complained that the ‘Drive It Like It’s Stolen’ tagline is distasteful. The billboard features an outline of a Mini Cooper, with a large hole where the car is supposed to be and “Drive it like its stolen!” written in red and white.

According to BMW, the owners of Mini, the billboard was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the previous Mini Cooper billboard it had put up, which had actually been stolen.

Ad people maybe trying to be too clever there i think.

“Two Johannesburg residents, Macbeth Ngema and Candice Nene, took umbrage with the “insensitive” advert, saying it “promotes and glorifies the stealing of cars, speeding and reckless driving”.

The billboard was distasteful, said Nene.”

“Ngema and Nene complained to the Advertising Standards Authority 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 authority also noted the billboard had – subsequent to the complaints – been stolen.” [TimesLIVE]

What do you reckon?

Michelle Steyn says:
July 07, 2014 at 7:33 am

From the MINI SA Facebook page, posted yesterday:

Here’s the full story.

Dear MINIacs,
You’ve probably heard about our “Drive It Like It’s Stolen” billboard that’s got some people a little hot under the collar.

Here’s the full story.

We launched the new MINI and put up a billboard that read, “Old School Meets New Cool”. It was an awesome billboard. In fact, it was so awesome that somebody decided to steal it.

We figured that the empty space looked bland so we put up another billboard. The headline was the same, but we also added the tagline “Drive It Like It’s Stolen”. This was purely a reference to our previous billboard.

We’re not sure what the word on the street is, but it must be that MINI billboards are made of pure gold, because our new billboard was also swiped.

As you can see, we never meant to cause offence and apologise to anyone who took our billboard to mean anything other than a reference to the previous one.

Our writers are tired of dreaming up headlines for billboards that disappear like Houdini. So it’s over to you. Complete the line, ‘Drive It Like…’ and if we like it, we’ll let you drive one of our MINIs for a week and use your line in our new billboard.

Oh, and if you see one of our billboards in a strange place (like in a mate’s garage), do us a favour and drop us a line.

Keep it MINI.”

Helen says:
July 07, 2014 at 7:33 am

I totally agree with Macbeth and Candice. Besides which, what does ‘drive it like it was stolen’ mean to one such as myself who has never driving a stolen vehicle, or been in one in my life! I find this advert offensive, racial (its positioned in Soweto) and talks about old school meeting new school. Again, what is implied? That the ‘new school’ all drive around in hijacked and/or stolen vehicles?

I find this advert distasteful, totally meaningless and just for good measure, it is also extremely offensive. One would expect better from Mini Cooper – they are not new kids on the block.

I will now never consider buying their product again. But in the meantime, this advert needs to be removed post haste and the advertising agency, along with their client, heavily fined for this. In addition, the media, internet, law reviews and bad marketing blogs et al should use this as a classic case and prime example of bad PR, advertising and marketing.

July 07, 2014 at 7:33 am

some people seem to always be on the look out for drama. There really is nothing wrong with the advert…

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