BMW’s creative advertising

Published May 4, 2010 by Syllable

The single greatest mistake any brand can make is advertising to the wrong market. It doesn’t matter how they do it if it is not reaching the people they need to speak to.

In 2001/2 BMW (US) ran an Internet campaign with a series of short films. The series was called ‘The Hire’ and is similar to the full feature film ‘The Transporter’. The eight short films were each directed by a different director, including John Frankenheimer, Guy Ritchie, John Woo and Tony Scott. The only constant in the films is the driver, Clive Owen, driving a BMW. The model, storyline and genre of every film differ, as the directors do. On average the films are eight minutes long, and were released on the Internet.

BMW Films

All of this says a lot about BMW and their awareness of their target market. In South Africa Internet access, especially at the speed to allow quality video streaming and the capacity to download large quantities of data, is not affordable to the average man on the street. People who buy and drive BMWs do so because they are passionate about the car – the look, the power, the speed, the status.

The cost alone to create these films, these ads, is as indulgent as buying your first, perhaps even fourth, tenth, BMW. Casting the incredibly handsome Clive Owen as the driver creates the association that men driving BMWs are irresistibly sexy and have indescribable driving abilities. It is something that appeals to both men and woman – you want to be him or be with him. So people go out and buy BMWs and in turn their social lives thrive? Not quite; that would imply that BMW owners need a vehicle to substitute their self-esteem. Instead, the vehicle amplifies their belief that they are good looking, intelligent and privileged.

BMW realises that their market is one that wants to feel in charge and capable. For most part these people have proved themselves in all areas of life and chooses to reward themselves with something a little indulgent. A new car – but not just any car – a car that is associated with status without being over the top. Modest, yet luxurious.

Something that is sheer driving pleasure.

The eight titles in The Hire series: Ambush, Chosen, The Follow, Star, Powder Keg, Hostage, Ticker, Beat The Devil.
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