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Mobile App Into New York

Luxe automaker rolls out geo-targeted ads for Born Electric road show

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BMW last year invested in the mobile app MyCityWay, and soon it will find if that was money well spent as its eco-friendly Born Electric road show rolls into New York.

The luxury automaker next week will run locally targeted display and video ads on the city- guide app, which developers said has 1.2 million users in Gotham.

Joan Bowen, brand marketing manager for BMW’s “i” series of electric/low-emissions vehicles, said this is the first time the company has taken a stake in a third-party mobile app in the U.S. and then leveraged it for an event like Born Electric, which runs Nov. 13-18.

“The app will be a targeted way to capture New Yorkers,” Bowen said. “We feel MyCityWay gives us a lot of flexibility about who we catch and when.”

Over the next few days, BMW will run geo-targeted display and video ads on major New York- based publisher sites to encourage attendance at the midtown Manhattan event. It will mark the fourth of seven international Born Electric shows, including Rome, Tokyo and Dusseldorf, Germany. Based on turnouts in those cities, Bowen’s team anticipates more than 10,000 consumers will attend the event in New York.

Through on-site marketing materials, attendees will be encouraged to download the MyCityWay app, which provides access to videos featuring BMW’s eco-minded i3 and i8 Concept models. Facebook and Twitter will also be tucked into the experience, as the app will let users share clips via their social feeds.

MyCityWay users in New York who do not attend the event will still see the BMW brand in the lower right-hand corner of the app. The show will also get pushed on the app’s event schedule and the local map when users are near midtown.

“There are two levels to the targeting: [general] prospects in New York and customers at the actual show,” said MyWayCity CEO Puneet Mehta. “BMW can send attendees push alerts via the app if they opt in. The content the brand pushes out can be changed regularly. We are starting to bring these brands onto our platform and selling targeted reach.”

Mehta claims to have five million users nationwide on the app, offering city-to-city information on everything from top-ranked restaurants to the locations of police traffic cameras and public restrooms.

BMW’s Bowen believes MyCityWay will produce all-important foot traffic in Manhattan, “and we hope it leads to future partnerships using the app,” she added. “Generally, for BMW ‘i,’ most of our communications are done digitally. We do very little print, trying to be sustainable in that regard.”