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BMW’s i8 Elevates Maker’s Image in Germany

Hybrid electric improves company’s cool factor.

by on Aug.21, 2014

BMW's new i8 is raising the company's profile among new car buyers in Germany.

BMW’s new i8 is a cutting edge vehicle using new technologies to make it the among the most impressive hybrid electrics on the road. However, few vehicles capture the public’s imagination without great advertising campaigns and, in Germany, the maker seems to be making an impact with the i8.

According to a study by Pulse, a German market research agency, 44% of German car buyers were aware of BMW’s i8 advertising campaign in Germany and that it reinforced the future competence and “coolness” of the BMW brand.

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That number rises to 58% when only BMW owners are polled. Additionally, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota drivers came in above the 44% mark, which indicates that the i8 campaign is BMW is impacting drivers of competing brands. (more…)

Marty’s Marketing Minutia: Grinch Edition

But ad blitz continues.

by on Dec.16, 2011

Infiniti scores a rare holiday hit with its snowball ad.

This year’s deluge of Christmas and year-end-sales car commercials began before the Thanksgiving was even on the table and will continue unabated for the next ten days or more.

As the auto industry rebounds from the economic doldrums their advertising agencies have responded with mind numbing versions of the iconic symbols of the season to convince viewers they really need to celebrate the holidays by putting a new car under the tree. It’s the perfect gift, right?

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Turn on any cable or broadcast channel and it’s guaranteed you’ll see a tinselized, snowflake-covered, ribbon-clad, buy-that-new-car-now commercial in the first few minutes. But are they really convincing customers?  No, according to a survey just completed and released by Ace Metrix, a respected research company and an authority on television advertising effectiveness. Their study was broken down into two categories, most effective luxury and non-luxury brands, which certainly reflect the buying moods of the season, based on general retail sales data.


BMW Shakes Up the Ad World – Again

A special edition of Marty's Marketing Minutia.

by on Aug.29, 2011

BMW gets a new ad agency.

Once upon a time automotive advertisers were the most stable accounts on an agency’s client roster. Those were the halcyon Dan Draper days. Turbulence is now the norm. Longevity is passé. Performance — as in results and metrics – now drives the business.

BMW is just the latest to join the long list of auto brands who have switched agencies since the economic meltdown began. The headline A-list switchers include Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Saab, Cadillac, Buick, Chevrolet, Mazda and Volkswagen.  The personal toll is and has been incalculable for modern Drapers, but, interestingly, lead creatives and strategists from a shop that was fired from a brand are now working for one of the new agencies new brands.

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It’s been a very long process for BMW to select their latest agency with the unwieldy name of Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, of New York City. It’s better known by the initials KBS&P.  Early last fall BMW parted company with its international agency, Omnicom Group’s GSD&M Idea Shop.


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No "Joy" as BMW's ad agency resigns.

by on Oct.25, 2010

BMW's Joy campaign generated plenty of complaints but was that to blame?.

The announcement seems almost unreal, like a promo for the popular TV series, Mad Men, rather than an actual press release.  But after reading it a second and third time we realized this wasn’t a fictional ad agency shake-up but a very real parting of ways between two of the most closely watched partners in the business.

“BMW and GSD&M Idea City will end their relationship after the current contract expires,” went the report. “We thank GSD&M for their contributions over the last five years. They have been great partners. However, we have a number of agency partners, both in the US and globally, that provide high quality work. We look forward to continuing to work with this team of great agencies now and in the future on a wide range of dynamic new products, technologies and initiatives.”

Over the past few days there have been plenty of rumors about what precipitated what had seemed to be a mutually satisfactory agency–client partnership.

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The short list of viable explanations starts with the untimely death of BMW’s respected vice president of marketing, Jack Pitney, a vocal proponent of the Omnicon shop, who was killed in a freak accident on the farm he liked to work in his off hours.  His relatively unknown successor, Dan Creed, goes the argument, hopes to imprint his own name on the brand with an agency of his own choice.


Key Managerial Changes Shaking Up BMW

Déjà vu all over again?

by on Jul.21, 2010

Former BMWNA Marketing Chief Jack Pitney will now take responsibility for the maker's eastern region.

A few years ago in a sweeping change in positions that surprised the auto industry, Jack Pitney, then head of the new Mini division, switched jobs with Jim McDowell, who was serving as the British marque’s vice president of marketing.

In the famous words of Yogi Berra, “It’s deja vu, all over again.”

Mini’s parent, BMW, is making two new veep switches, one financial, as Wayne Orchowski, vice president of the Eastern Region, becomes VP of operations and COO of BMW Group Financial Services. That move might not have even made the radar, but the other switch is causing some seismic tremors in the marketing world and blogs as Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for the BMW Brand (and the acknowledged, if not titled, CMO of BMW US) will assume the role of vice president of BMW’s Eastern Region.

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When a CMO moves from one company to another, retires or leaves the industry it’s usually not unexpected, but a move from the major staff position to a major line operation job is rare.  Except it’s Pitney’s career DNA.  How many remember when he moved from head of BMW public relations to lead the launch of Mini in the U.S. another line function. That too surprised industry pundits.


BMW Billboard Ties Up Traffic

Unconventional ad triggers flurry of 911 calls.

by on Jan.19, 2010

Good gosh, don't jump! This BMW billboard, along I-95, is catching attention. Photo Courtesy Connecticut Post

They say you shouldn’t jump into a major purchase, like an automobile, without sleeping on it.  And that’s probably what the folks at the BMW dealership, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, had in mind when they put their new billboard along I-95.  But the ad has generated some unexpected responses.

The message is brief: “The Overnight Test Drive,” which refers to a program BMW of Bridgeport offers allowing potential customers to take a car home for an overnight drive.  But it’s not the words that have gotten so many motorists worrying.  It’s the life-sized mannequin, in pajamas, sitting atop the sign accompanied by a teddy bear.


That’s triggered a rash of calls to the local State Police barracks from commuters worrying that someone was ready to jump (perhaps because they didn’t qualify for the program?).


More BMW Ad Agency Changes

Win one, lose one for Omnicomm.

by on May.28, 2009

Omnicomm scored a big win, just a week ago, nabbing BMW's global ad business.  But today it learns it's lost the automaker's U.S. ad work.

Omnicomm scored a big win, just a week ago, nabbing BMW's global ad business. But today it learned it lost the automaker's U.S. ad work.

It’s a win one, lose one scenario for the Austin, Texas-based, Omnicom advertising agency. Just a week or so ago the shop won the BMW’s global creative account  as reported here in TDB in a Friday column.

Today they got the bad news.

The media planning and buying account previously at GSD&M, estimated at $200 million, for BMW North America and its 60 regional group advertisers has been awarded to UM buying service.

“We are thrilled to have UM onboard as our new media buying and planning partner,” said Jack Pitney, Vice President of Marketing, BMW of North America.  “The agency has a solid reputation for excellence, and we look forward to a very productive relationship.”

Three other media agencies vied for the business including the incumbent, Horizon Media and Carat.

Pitney also noted, the recent review of the media buying and planning activities is part of a regular process put in place by parent company BMW AG.  It is designed to maximize efficiencies and increase the effectiveness of BMW’s media planning and spending worldwide.