Ad Agency: Grey West
Product: 2011 5 Series
Campaign: 5 Series "Refuel"
What We Like: The swagger is back at BMW. After more than a year of fooling around with "Joy" as a lead ad positioning, a new marketing team at the German automaker is re-emphasizing "The Ultimate Driving Machine" as the brand's central positioning. The 30-second ad contains what many BMW followers like - a fast car and a big plane. No, the plane, which looks to be a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, is not hovering so close to the 5 that it could fill the guy's coffee cup. But the CGI is good enough to pull off the visual trick.
What We Don't Like: Not much at all. Getting a story and message across in a 30-second TV ad is not easy. But BMW and this ad agency, Grey West, did a nice job of conveying a fuel efficiency story.
Strategy: BMW marketing chief Dan Creed, who took over at BMW North America a few months ago, is all about re-affirming "The Ultimate Driving Machine" as Bimmer's main message. At the New York Auto Show, he walked us to the front of BMW's stand to look at a giant rendering of the ad slogan, which dates back to the early 1970s. At last year's show, there was a giant banner that proclaimed "Joy of Driving." "We know there is a lot of joy in driving a BMW, but we are going to show it in pictures and film rather than say it," says Creed.
It's worth noting that as fun as this ad is, the message is about the 5 Series' fuel economy, not the horsepower. BMW is trying to broaden its message to be more inclusive of men and women, as well as tell its story about its investments in the South Carolina plant that produces X3 and X5. But Creed also wants the brand and the cars to show some leg when it comes to marketing and advertising. BMW remains an exciting brand, and a premiere stable of driving machines. That shouldn't be lost when telling the broader story.
BMW is kicking off a review for a new ad agency. It parted ways with Austin-based GSD&M late last year. New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners produced last February's Super Bowl ads. Grey West, which has handled BMW's retail and pre-owned advertising since 2008, produced the ad and will presumably get a crack at the whole enchilada.
Watch the commercial after the jump and give it your own grade below.