Friday, September 25, 2009

BMW Roars Down the Road (Desk?) Again

I found my original link to the new BMW “Expressions of Joy” campaign in a Tweet by Kevin Swanepoel—thanks, Kevin! My reaction was that BMW has done it again in terms of pushing the envelope on advertising (build your own) and, more recently, customer engagement (the graffiti wall).

The campaign, launched in the UK in the spring, is for the new Z4 model. If you look around you’ll find a lot of the typical—photo galleries (some so complex they froze my screen so I’m not providing links) and TV ads posted on YouTube.

But it’s the augmented (not virtual) reality application that intrigued me. It’s a technological update of earlier ad campaigns. Basically, once you download the software (called a paintbrush app), it lets you drive the new Z4 on your desk. If you wish you can create your own “expression of joy” and upload it to the contest on Facebook—reminiscent of the graffiti promo. There are several posts on the wall of the Facebook page and at least one on the photo page.

There are lots of comments about how much fun this is—and that’s a lot of the point!—scattered around the web. The one I liked most added something about how this was a geeky toy to be used by companies with a lot of money.

That is no doubt true. It seems to be a proprietary application; is it based on the Microsoft Paintbrush Tool? I can’t tell.

What I do know is that BMW continues to reach out to a young, well-heeled target market and to understand how to engage them. The challenge for other marketers is to use innovative, cost-effective ways of reaching and engaging their target audiences. Some of that is technology and tools; much more is creative marketing thinking!

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