S/Africa: BMW advert triggers racism claims

An advert featuring a black woman standing next to one of BMW's latest BMW 5 Series models has caused an…

An advert featuring a black woman standing next to one of BMW’s latest BMW 5 Series models has caused an uproar in South Africa, with Media Personality and Poet Ntsiki Mazwai accusing the multinational vehicle maker of waging a racist campaign against black people, APA learnt on Wednesday.In the advert, behind the black woman’s image is the phrase, “We Are Our Ancestors’ Wildest Dreams” — with the word “ancestors” crossed out.


This, however, did not go down well with Mazwai who took to social media to express her outrage at the advert.


She said: “What level of racism is this now, where our things get used to sell white things? Which marketing agency authorised this? And why is BMW being racist?”


She added: “They wouldn’t do this to any other religious practices. So why do they feel that they have a right to use African spirituality in their marketing campaigns?”


“I am appalled. BMW is disgusting,” the poet said.


Explaining the concept behind the advert, BMW Group South Africa’s product communications specialist, Hailey Philander, said that the advertising campaign was conceptualised to showcase South Africa’s diversity and inclusivity — and not to question any person’s belief systems.


“The BMW brand campaign was launched in August 2022 for mainly social and digital assets. It was completely, locally-produced,” Philander said.

“The broader campaign was spun off into a number of smaller out-of-home executions, including the one just pointed out,” he said.


“BMW South Africa understands the wording of this example might have offended fans of the brand, for which we unreservedly apologise,” Philander said. 

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