BMW’s 10 revolutionary adverts

Dr Prem Digital Healthcare Marketing

The BMW Group is one of the largest and premium brands of car manufacturers in the world. It is associated with exemplary performance, engineering success and modern inventions. The company has always been at the head of pioneering new IT options to improve the driving experience. Money has been invested to new innovative research development, especially projects which have known to bear results like its Efficient Dynamic program. It is committed to providing commendable driving experience to its customers, doing so by consistently listening to the consumer’s needs. Due to its endeavors in customer and car service technology, BMW is recognized as a luxury sedan that characterizes style, high class and prestige.

The marketing strategy of the company are shaped from the company’s ambition to target its demographic of wealthy, tech-savvy, young adults. The luxury car brand has worked in collaboration with David Fincher to create short film series to advertize its high functioning and suave new line of cars.

Many advert have been produces by BMW and each carries a spark of the company’s ingenuity. A look at the top 10 ads will articulate why BMW is the name associated with innovation, forward thinking and mechanical specialization.

BMW Commercial

A series of films under the title ‘The Hire’ highlighted the performance aspects of the best BMW automobiles in action-packed short films. With a running time of 10 minutes, the films actively conveyed the quality and capabilities of BMW automobiles. Each film had a unique and carefully constructed plot wherein Clive Owen, the hired driver, maneuvers sleek BMW automobiles through tough obstacles to fulfill his orders.

BMW’s revolutionary ‘The Hire’ film series shattered conventions by propelling the online film phenomenon. These eight short films, by highly regaled Hollywood directors, effectively altered the structure of interactive entertainment and set a standard for advertised communication.

1. Ambush


In this advert Clive Owen is the hired ‘Driver’ who finds himself confronted by masked gunman on a dark freeway. Training their guns on him, the head gunman demands Owen surrender his passenger who has smuggled diamonds in his possession. Owen defies bullets and obstacles by moving his car smoothly across the dark lanes. Director John Frankenheimer remains true to the style of high speed car chases. The cameras show the fluidity of the BMW 740i car in motion and how expertly it travels under a good hand. The film premiered on the BMW Films website on April 26, 2002.

2. Chosen


The Driver befriends a young Tibetan boy at a dark New York shipyard and next, he is under siege by villains. What follows is an exciting thrill ride through the warehouse lot. Special emphasis is given to how the BMW 540i car runs circles around the villain’s cars, completey surpassing their presense. Director of the Oscar-winning Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon , Ang Lee overlooked the project. The adverts features close ups of the car and the movement of machinery with cat-like precision over gravel and ice terrain. Also, it is used as a weapon to highlight the car’s durability. Crash safety due its strong skeletal structure is another glorified feature of the car.

3. Star

The Star

This advert has a humorous quality. The audience is even treated to a shot of Clive Owen acting a little silly. Guy Ritchie directs his former wife and the actor into what is a fun adventure with mischievous undertones. The advert demonstrated the speed of the BMW M5 car and its handling of turns. It shows how easily the BMV can overcome even the sharpest curves and propel itself forward to accomplish death defying feats, namely huge jumps and risky maneuvers.

4. Powder Keg

Powder Keg

The atmosphere is chiefly dark and grainy, turning attention a little to the horrors of war. Here, the BMW X5 3.0i has to fight against the rough terrain of third world countries: evade obstacles and run through grassy fields and dirt roads. Out of focus and shaky camera angles tell the heart of the story, a very touching and emotional narrative especially the heart felt discussion between the driver and the photographer. The film developed the character to be more human.

5. The Hostage


Notable action director John Woo directs this suspenseful short film, the driver races against time to save a trapped girl. Once again audiences are enthralled by the ability of the BMW Z4 3.0i to be handled expertly at high speeds, travel backwards and perform amazing jumps. This time the car has to outrun the police as well as weave through traffic to reach its destination. Clive Owen exacerbates the tension well and brilliantly exhibits the manner in which the luxury sedan can be pushed to the limit.

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The Ticker

The Don Cheadle and F. Murray Abraham star in this short film that pits the BMW Z4 3.0i against a firing helicopter. Owen as the driver has to race against time to deliver an important package to the authorities. Once again the audience is treated to an exhilarating ride through the eyes of the Driver. Despite taking damage, the car is resilient and executes the usual control adeptness the audience has come to expect.

7. Beat the Devil

Beat the devil

James Brown is given the starring role for this short film. While the Driver takes a small side role to the story of an aging man who wants to keep living his dream. Brown challenges Gary Brown (the devil) to a drag race through the Las Vegas strip. The swiftness of the BMW Z4 3.0i energizes the shots. Beautiful overhead camera angles and landscape shots of the golden desert are worth remembering. Similar with the other films, the competition of the BMW is with other vehicles, namely another car, truck and foremost a train. BMW Z4 beats them in drivability and fleetness. The touch of humor is interesting in the film.

8. The Big Grab

BMW 3 Series The Big Grab

Many Americans tuned in to the superbowl and in between the action they were tempted by the awesome brand and imaginative power of BMW. The company developed a series of short videos to commercialize the all-new BMW 3 Series Sedan. The ad was broadcast in the New York Tri-State area and illustrated in a fun manner the new technologies of the car, which BMW considers ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’. A group of people enter the car to escape the cold and the man ends up enjoying the steering wheel a little too much as evidence from the noise he makes. The advert is simple but effectively conveys how BMW listens to its customer’s problems and delivers even the smallest comforts.

9. The Close Call

The close call

The second small short of the digital short series was aired in th
e Southern California, specifically Los Angeles, Atlanta and Houston areas. The advert underscores another new technology integrated into the BMW 3 Series sedan, a robotic voice that reads emails. A man parks into his driveway and listens to a message about the arrival of his mother in law. He can safely take action as he has been forewarned. Such light humor in the adverts makes for a fun viewing. These shorts effectively represent the standard of operation set by BMW.

10. Social Media Campaign for Concepts

Social media campaign for concepts

BMW also launched an exciting marketing campaign that celebrated the arrival of the BMW i3 and i8 into the market as a concept. Staying in tune to its mantra of investing in cutting edge advertising, this marketing campaign runs on social-news site Mashable, location-service Foursquare and iAd, Apple’s mobile-advertising network. The iAD will be available throughout Europe on iPhones, iPods and iPads. Designed with the imaginative capacity of 3D graphics and virtual worlds, the campaign will focus on the BMW i3 and i8.

BMW has received appreciation and accolades from advertising industry for its embrace of online marketing and branded content. It was awarded the

The Cyber Lion Grand Prix (‘Academy Awards’ of advertising) at Cannes in 2002.

‘Best Excuse for Broadband’ at WIRED Magazine’s third annual Rave Awards in 2001.

‘Best Action Short’ award from the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival was given to director John Woo for Hostage in 2002.

The Titanium Lion, the highest honor at the Cannes International Advertising Festival that distinguishes campaigns that encourage ‘the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward.’’

Finally, The Hire series was inducted into the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in 2003, which in itself, is a great achievement.

The cost of the entire Hire series was substantial, the five initial films demanded an estimated $15 million, and the three filmed in 2002 required a procurement of about $10 million.

The adverts influenced sales, motivating a 12.5% increase in sales in 2001 compared to 2000, exceeding the 200,000 mark in an historical victory. Between 2001 and 2002, BMW’s sales rose 17.2 percent, establishing the automaker as number 2 over Mercedes but second to Lexus in the luxury-car market.

With style and modernized camera technique, strong storylines as well as emotional characters, the automotive high-performance traits of BMW was exhibited and quickly garnered an admiring audience. It was hugely successful, a landmark in advertising and effectively delivered the message of BMW’s claim to innovation.

BMW has consistently used opportunities to produce Adverting marvels that grab customer attention and emphasize its values.

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