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BMW Debuts Crash Test in New National TV Spots

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BMW regional shop Publicis Mid-America is adding another national campaign for the car maker to its list of credentials.

This week, the Dallas-based agency is rolling out three new TV spots for BMW that tout safety.

In one spot, the slow-motion destruction of a test vehicle is accompanied by the sound of a beating heart, which stops and dramatically restarts as the shattered car comes to a standstill. In another, the same crash-test footage includes text touting "dual front air bags," "head protection system" and, finally, "repeat buyer."

The three ads, airing on national cable and spot TV, is the evolution of a 1997 print campaign promoting BMW's Best Pick award from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. That was Publicis' first national campaign for the client and the first to show a wrecked BMW.

The print work's tagline was, "If all cars performed this well, we could stop this kind of testing."

"It was a big hurdle for them to get over, showing their car crashed," said Publicis group account director Brice Campbell. "Why we are pushing this when their equity is in 'ultimate driving machine?' We discovered … that we weren't getting enough credit for our safety against competitors such as Volvo, so we felt a real need to close this gap."

As one of BMW's regional ad agencies, Publicis' directive is to "close barriers to purchase," Campbell said. Mendelsohn/Zien in L.A., handles Western regional ads.

"Obviously, when we get great news," such as more recent Best Pick awards from the IIHS, "we want to trumpet it," said Campbell.

BMW's national brand advertising in handled by Fallon in Minneapolis.