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BMW of North America is beginning a review for its $150 million U.S. ad account, the company said on Monday. The decision comes after a tumultuous six months for the company, having lost its long-time marketing executive, Jack Pitney,to a tragic accident last October and then parting with its former agency last Fall.

BMW is in the midst of an aggressive product onslaught in the next two years as the Munich-based company is trying to grow its business globally, as well as in the States.

The company had used GSD&M, an Austin, Texas-based ad shop until last November. Since then, it has been getting ad work from Kirshenbaum, Bond Senecal + Partners, NY, which created BMW's Super Bowl ads this year. Kirshenbaum had been the runner-up to GSD&M when BMW last reviewed its ad account in 2005, and had been doing the company's CRM work the last five years as well.

BMW's ad work has been the subject of much chatter and even controversy in the last year or so as the company played down its long-running "Ultimate Driving Machine" positioning in favor of a "Joy of Driving" idea. The "Joy," positioning is closer to the BMW brand strategy around the world, as the idea translates into most languages. "Ultimate Driving Machine" apparently doesn't translate into most languages.

BMW sales are holding up in the recession. The company was the number-two luxe brand in 2010, just ahead of Mercedes-Benz and just behind Lexus. But the company has been spending more on price discounts channeled into lease deals and financing discounts.

There are a number of ad shops likely to get a look: Kirshenbaum, Bond Senecal to retain it; The Martin Agency, Richmond, Va.; BBDO, NY (Creative chief David Lubars was creative director at Fallon Worldwide when that agency had the business and created BMW Films, among other great work for the carmaker); Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Miami; and Publicis, NY.

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      • 4 Years Ago
      How about "BMW - the #1 car for self obsessed a-holes now that Hummer is dead".
      • 4 Years Ago

        • 4 Years Ago
        @John H: lol!
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's because he paid 3-series money for a sub-3-series car.
      • 4 Years Ago
      As much as I do not like the "Joy" ads and campaigns, I unfortunately think it matches the now watered-down BMW image (from the eyes of the enthusiasts).

      To me, the newer offerings are no longer a "joy" too look at, including the still somewhat piggish 1 Series (the 2012 looks a bit better), the "cheeky" X3, the meh cross-styling between the 5 and 7 Series, and the whale that is the 5 GT.

      Right now, if I had say $70K to pick up a new BMW, it would be either an M3 coupe or a Z4 35i. No other models are enticing enough for me, save the 328xi Touring.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why don't they just take that $150,000,000 and give away three thousand 3-series. That would be a good marketing campaign.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If Mad Men is anything to go by:

        women, drink & drugs.
        • 4 Years Ago
        what did you think the ad agents were going to spend it on?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Alternate slogan:


      • 4 Years Ago
      How about bringing back the good ol' "Ultimate Driving Machine"?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @OP: Is that question for BMW A.G., or for their ad agency?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ leftfootbraker : I hear you. Perhaps this..."Still the Ultimate Driving Machine".

        @ JohnH: both the agency and BMW AG.
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think bmw is lost,. at least the last gen cars had personallity I love the e60s look the new one is generic Iiked them looking all different thats my opinion. besides that everybody Bd, about flame surfacing, then other manufacures copy it must have not been that bad
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