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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Reflecting on the BMW 1-Series Launch



"The media strategy for the 1 Series is all about short, intense experiences," explains Esme Rottschafer, group account director at The Media Company, adding that Cundari developed the creative for the ad (both Toronto-based). "We knew [this process] would be tough to do, but it was an innovative one-off that fit beautifully with the strategy."

Short, intense experiences. The quote above was taken from the coverage of Canada’s Vibe magazine featuring a hidden 1-series on the cover, provided you turn the lights off. Coverage of this tactic was rampant across BMW message boards, autoblog.com, several non-BMW related blogs, and market publications. What Cundari did was generate a buzz beyond just the car. Technique was the buzz with the Vibe magazine cover.

It was a well-executed traditional media placement that transitioned to some great online buzz. BMW’s campaign wasn’t just about creating buzz online; their strategy was to concentrate half of their media budget on online media. “By comparison, executives at BMW of North America say, Internet ad spending for other models ranges from 1 percent to 15 percent of the total ad budgets,” according to the NY Times.

With a target consumer in the late 20s and early 30s, an interesting online implementation was the 1-series Facebook application that let members design their own 1-series in their “What drives you?” auto graffiti contest. It was an engaging way for friends to share different creative ways to make the 1-series canvas their own. It was more than just the typical Facebook quiz or ‘Become a Fan’ idea. Here BMW lets friends create a personal style and isn’t it always about standing out when one is buying a luxury car? Plus it allowed creativity that was simple for anyone to try.

Where the BMW 1-series went wrong with their product launch wasn’t a media placement or website, it was trying to generate exclusivity by writing “Year One of the 1” around the Start Button. Most consumers and brand advocates felt it was a bit too gimmicky.
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