BMW Finds Joy in Expression

BOSTON BMW, which displayed considerable innovation and artistry with its online ad films nearly a decade ago, is again seeking to make a media splash. This time, the Bavarian automaker is using paint.

BMW has engaged two modern creative artists on a multifaceted campaign to help launch its Z4 Roadster. The effort via GSD&M Idea City in Austin, Texas, and i-shop Dotglu in New York is dubbed “Expression of joy,” and the push includes an home-page takeover on May 11, as well as a 30-minute documentary film.

For this very high-concept undertaking, BMW teamed up with contemporary artist Robin Rhode and filmmaker Jake Scott.

Under Scott’s direction (“using 40 simultaneous camera angles,” BMW boasts), Rhode choreographed the movements of two Z4’s mounted with paint jets. As the wheels of the car spun, vibrant colors dispersed to create a football-field-size painting.

The resulting 30-minute film — which documents the creation of the campaign — debuts on Discovery HD at 8 p.m. EST on May 10 and will be rebroadcast through May and June. There’s a tie-in with TiVo allowing viewers to preview and record the featurette.

On, users will be able to view the 30-second “painting” spot in full-screen mode. This will mark the first time the “expandable-video” unit has been employed on the page.

Jack Pitney, vp, marketing at BMW N.A., explained that the client has a long history of working with modern artists and sought to convey the artistry of the new car with the campaign.

BMW spent $120 million last year in domestic measured media, per Nielsen.

The specific buy for this effort was not disclosed, but numerous visual media channels are employed:

• Video banners will run through late June at venues such as CNN, CNN Money, Dow Jones, Yahoo, Conde Nast and Wired.

• The print buy includes Art & Antiques, ArtNews Esquire, W and Elle Decor. There’s also an eight-page insert (written and photographed by Dennis Hopper) running in the June issue of Vanity Fair, and a cover-page takeover slated for the June issue of Dwell magazine.

• Out-of-home coverage includes airports in 10 key markets with billboards that show the painting headlines such as, “Not all artists are depressed” and “Rarely does the paintbrush rival the painting,” or the succinctly stated “Art Movement” and “Muse.”