Announcing! Brandweek is headed to Phoenix, Arizona this September 23–26. Join us there to explore the future of marketing, discover cutting-edge strategies and network with the best in the business.
Christopher Walken is one of the most mimicked celebrities, as his signature stilted cadence is perhaps the most unique in Hollywood.
BMW’s Super Bowl spot takes Walken-mocking to the limit as the star drives and walks through several scenes where everyone he talks with tries to imitate him.
The 60-second spot, “Talkin’ Like Walken,” by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, will air in the first quarter of the game and highlights the BMW 5 Series, focusing on the all-electric BMW i5.
It starts with Walken’s valet, who tries to do his best impression as Walken gets into his BMW. The drive-thru barista is up next, followed by actress Ashley Park from Emily in Paris, who verbally imitates the actor as the two walk their dogs. His tailor and makeup artist make similar attempts at the New Yorker’s accent before Walken drives to his lunch appointment, clearly getting annoyed by the impressions.
A restaurant host with a surprisingly good Walken impression leads the actor to his table, where he utters, “Yeah.” That’s when Super Bowl halftime performer Usher appears, asking if someone said “Yeah?” When Walken asks if Usher needs to be somewhere, he agrees and dances up the stairs to what we believe to be his upcoming big show.
The tag states that there is only one Christopher Walken, and only one ultimate driving machine. “The rest are just imitations,” says a Walken-ish voiceover as Walken laughs.
“I really enjoyed working with BMW, they are a wonderful company and electric cars are important,” said Walken in a statement. “I look forward to sharing the work we did together.”
The ad was directed by two-time Oscar-nominated director Bryan Buckley, who has worked on nearly 70 Super Bowl commercials. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema (Oppenheimer and Interstellar) directed the photography.
“Christopher Walken is iconic. … You wait your whole life to make a campaign like this,” added Rich Silverstein, co-chairman and co-founder of GS&P, in a statement. “The reality is everyone has a Walken impression. But there’s only one original.”
The campaign will also involve social media extensions including a TikTok activation that challenges creators to give their own spin on a Walken impression with the hashtag #TalkinLikeWalken.
The campaign featured two teasers before the spot was released. In one, Walken is on the phone with his agent trying to understand the concept of a teaser. “It’s an ad for an ad?” Walken asks.
A second teaser, “Singing,” featured Walken driving the electric BMW i5 while listening to Usher’s song “Yeah!”
The BMW ad is one of four from GS&P, whose Big Game clients also include Kawasaki, Doritos and Mountain Dew. Chief creative officer Margaret Johnson talked with ADWEEK about making multiple Super Bowl spots.