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BMW's Ads Get Hammered By Garfield. But Not By Me.

Posted by: David Kiley on June 7, 2006

A few weeks back, I have the new ad campaign from BMW a pretty solid review. One of my peers, Bob Garfield hammered the first ads from ad agency GSD&M. So, I thought I might weigh back in, at least briefly.

The campaign is themed, “Company of Ideas,” though it retains “The Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline. Some things are sacrosanct.

When I reviewed the campaign, [BMW Targets New Drivers, May 5—searchable at] I looked at the whole of the strategy—TV, print, Net. Bob concentrates on the TV work. When I reviewed I hadn’t seen the finished TV work. And I’ll agree with Bob about one thing—the final on-air execution of the scripts and storyboards I was shown, including casting, could have been a little better. But, unlike Bob, I don’t have a problem with BMW talking (Bob says “whining) about the creative process and philosophy that lives at BMW.

More than ever, businesspeople, creative and otherwise, have been looking at how they go about innovating. More than ever, talented creative people are unwilling to have their drive for innovation stifled in the name of job security. If the air is bad in the company they work for, they move on to another or start their own thing. I think as BMW gets more executions of this message out—that it is such a company that champions creative innovation and maverick thinking—it could chnage a few minds among people who still think BMW is a yuppiemobile. Hell, I know tree-huggers (and I am among them) who are so pumped up after driving a BMW M5 sedan that they forget to recycle.

And I still think it’s strategically correct for BMW to interupt its campaigns of zig zagging cars and pithy remarks about sporty driving, at least for a little while, to tell a different story about the company and brand.

But hey…that’s me.

Reader Comments


June 15, 2006 10:45 AM

One line in your post communicates why this campaign is a bomb:

"tree-huggers (and I am among them) who are so pumped up after driving a BMW M5 sedan that they forget to recycle."

Those "tree huggers" are pumped up because of their experience of "The Ultimate Driving Machine." NOT because they're "independent like BMW."

Didn't Saturn already Do "A Different kind of car company. A different kind of car."?

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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