Fallon Accelerates New BMW Brand Campaign Hugs the Road




NEW YORK-BMW is leaving the cute penguin behind in its latest pitch for new North American drivers. And don’t look for yachts magically riding down city streets.
Instead, in a new brand campaign breaking this week, the German automaker is stressing throttle, performance and driving as sport.
Three new TV spots, with two more on the way, and five new print ads from Minneapolis-based Fallon McElligott focus on the automobiles’ responsiveness and stick with BMW’s “Ultimate Driving Machine” tagline.
The TV spots are shot in black and white, and set to pulsing, heavy-metal music with no voiceover. Each spot is dotted with copy that delivers the emphasis on performance. In one spot, the copy reads, “Happiness is not around the corner. Happiness is the corner.”
For the past few years, BMW has been sending out a series of messages about safety, value and sex appeal ˆ la its tie to the James Bond film, Goldeneye. Jim McDowell, vice president of marketing, said an extensive survey of people who shopped BMW and bought another make showed people were seeing other brands as more fun to drive.
” ‘More fun to drive? Wait a minute, that’s us,’ we said to ourselves,” McDowell said.
BMW will spend $30 million on the branding effort between now and the first quarter of 1998. Its overall budget for the new model year will be about $90 million, a 10 percent increase over this year.
The departure in tone for BMW may seem to be targeting younger buyers, but McDowell points out that it is primarily aimed at non-BMW owners, who tend to be older than existing BMW owners’ median age. “The work tested very well with 40-year-olds, as well as with our 20-something target,” said McDowell.
Mark Goldstein, president of integrated marketing at Fallon, said the creative’s aim was to capture what BMW owners said is the most important aspect of the cars-they love to drive them. “For some, it’s the best part of their day,” he said.
“We borrowed a technique from the world of auto racing: the point-of-view camera. We were able to create the sense of dynamics and control that can be found only in a BMW,” said Goldstein.
The four-color print ads are closely related to the TV ads. One print ad reads, “Your brain tells your hands to turn. The car responds as if it were eavesdropping.” Ads are running in the September issues of Automobile, Motor Trend and Travel & Leisure.