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Can BMW's Snapchat-Inspired Campaign Attract Young Drivers?

Ads disappear after being shared

BMW hopes people share designs of virtual snow-covered windshields.

Today's younger consumers are known for having seconds-long attention spans—but that's fine for BMW, which only needs five seconds.

Catering to that short marketing window, the automaker (with the help of agency Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners) is launching a social campaign and website dubbed Snowchat, which will let users share pictures that last only seconds, just like a Snapchat message. 

The Snowchat site features an image of a BMW windshield covered in snow, which users can wipe away to make designs with the swipe of a finger across a touchscreen or the click of a mouse. Then, the virtual artwork can be shared via Facebook, Twitter or e-mail. Once the image is shared, it disappears five seconds after it's opened.

"We wanted to keep it very simple and tap into behavior that's already out there with people who are online and using their phones," said Paul Renner, executive creative director at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal.

BMW hopes that since the messages vanish quickly, people will send more than one to their friends, similar to how millennials use their favorite mobile messaging apps.

The website, which launched today, promotes the X4 SUV, which is aimed at a younger consumer than BMW's average driver. BMW's social push isn't solely geared toward moving cars off lots, partly because millennials don't have the money to buy luxury vehicles—yet.

"We are trying to open our arms wider than just car enthusiasts and BMW fans," Renner said. "We're trying to invite people into the brand and let us be a part of their daily lives for the holidays." 

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