Archive for April 18th, 2013

Sometimes, car commercials depict drivers doing things that would be illegal on public roads. These commercials always feature a small-print disclaimer stating “Professional driver on closed course.” The fact that drivers can legally utilize very little of a car’s potential during their daily commute doesn’t seem to matter. What matters is that the potential is there. (In Snow Crash, Neal Stephenson speculates that people drive BMWs like idiots in order to experience more of this potential and justify the purchase price.) Recently, however, I’ve noticed that car commercials are providing this disclaimer when cars are depicted doing things that are perfectly legal, like driving down a straight, empty road or leisurely taking a curve. A recent commercial for the BMW 5-Series is guilty of this but it also takes fine-print warnings to a whole new level. Note the fine print in this image:

BMW Window

It says: “Sticking your hand out the window is dangerous. Caution children not to engage in this activity.”

Seriously?! Is BMW really afraid that they are opening themselves up to a lawsuit from somebody whose kid sees this commercial and decides to open the window and stick his or her hand out, receiving some kind of injury from a bug or other flying debris? On second thought, somebody probably would file that sort of lawsuit, but fear of a ridiculous lawsuit does not justify making ridiculous statements.

Here is the entire commercial to demonstrate that I am not making this up:

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