Stand-Out Brand Advertising from BMW

All Ads are not Born Equal
We spend much of our lives as a brand strategy & design agency watching the flood of creative brand communications from all over the world. Every now and then one gem of creativity stands-out from the rest, catches our eye and tickles our fancy. For me it was this ad from BMW for their factory approved second hand cars. Who says those Germans don’t have a sense of humor?

David Ansett, Brandamentalist


  1. Hi Kim, Always great to get an insight behind these ads. It doesn’t surprise me that the ad received negative publicity – the main question for me is whether the negative publicity was driven by the target market – passionate BMW drivers, or by others. Should the role of the campaign be to generate broad community support, or fire the loyalty of BMW drivers?

  2. So David, are you saying that that women cannot be passionate BMW drivers? In what way does this target the female market (which is half of the market, thank you) other than by driving a stake through the heart of it? Comparing a young girl to a used car? I get the joke, if that’s what you want to call it; I just don’t think it’s funny. The question I would ask you is, would you ever expect to see this with a young boy rather than a young girl? (didn’t think so)

    Wouldn’t it be more profitable to BMW to reach out to a complete market audience rather than alienating half of it? This, to me, is just an example of cheap advertising. Lazy, cheap, sensationalistic advertising.

  3. Marie, Love your passion. So firstly let me say I respect your view here.
    Interesting that you perceive the issue and my response to be a ‘male/female’ thing. I guess the question is ‘do female BMW drivers find this ad offensive?’
    You see, I don’t get the comparison of a young girl to a used car. I got the comparison of a highly desirable woman to a highly desirable car. No different to aiming a message at the female market comparing a highly desirable male with a highly desirable product for that market – something we see on TV every evening. But then I’m a male with an unavoidably male perspective on these things.
    Here’s some more of my perspective: Some brands step outside the ‘bounds of reasonable’ with their ad campaigns and offend people (including their market). Some brands offend people without stepping outside the ‘bounds of reasonable’. Just my view – but I think these are two different things. None of us travel through life without offending people as much as we may try. Those who’s job it is to make an impact through their ads will often play in a risky area of our societal boundaries.
    I don’t believe BMW have any intention to target this ad at a broad female market. I think they were aiming this ad at a male oriented passionate BMW driver market (the channel through which it was delivered may well have made it an all male audience). When selling a brand as complex as BMW, it is the marketers task to segment, rather than create a campaign aimed at everyone.
    I agree this ad is sensationalist, it certainly pushes the envelope. However the question of debate here I think is whether brands and their creative agencies are required to ensure they don’t offend with their brand communications – or whether they have the leeway to push that boundary. If we’re looking to ad agencies for moral arbitration, I think we’re looking in the wrong place.
    Hope that helps clarify another perspective – as usual there are many ways to interpret these things.
    Thanks again for your thoughts. Dave.

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