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BMW Used Cars

It’s the ad that took social media by storm… the fake ad, that is. You will no doubt be familiar with the circulating image that claims to be an ad for pre-owned Aston-Martin cars and which bears the caption, “You know you’re not the first, but do you really care?” A scantily clad female is depicted with one leg resting suggestively on a kitchen bench. The ‘ad’ has (not surprisingly) enraged many social media users; it blatantly objectifies women by likening them to cars, available to be desired and then used by men.

Amusingly, this is not in fact a genuine Aston-Martin ad. Any cluey viewer would have picked up on the typo – “pre owed” cars – and true media detectives have sourced the photo back to the January 2012 issue of Playboy Germany, featuring Rosanne Jongenelen.

However, it turns out that the first part of the slogan – “you know you’re not the first” – is not original, having previously been coined in a set of controversial BMW advertisements, the first of which appeared in Greece in 2008. It was consequently banned. This ad was void of the line “but do you really care?” because BMW anticipated that the audience would intuitively recognise the connotation.

The original ad uses a different image (another woman, posing seductively for the camera), although it denotes the same message. The tagline reminds viewers that, despite any number of previous partners that the woman has had, she remains just as enticing to potential future suitors. One guess at who the target audience is.

It may seem peculiar that the Aston-Martin version has received significantly more publicity than the BMW original did, but when one considers the expansion of social media since 2008, it is hardly surprising. In fact, despite the abundance of negative criticism surrounding the recent revival of the slogan, ultimately, the notion that ‘all publicity is good publicity’ stands true. As a resident of a university college myself, I can confirm that the ad first came to my attention through its being excessively ‘shared’ and ‘liked’ by my tasteful co-residents (all 19 and 20 year old males, all responsible for satiating and inspiring each others’ fantasies; all, “for the boizzzz”).

The notion is of course that sex sells. An alluring photo, coupled with an effective tagline to deliver a controversial message consequently went viral in the social media; and Aston-Martin probably has a spotty, pre-pubescent boy to thank for masses of free publicity, commendably marketed to its key demographic.