A touch of class brand rivalry


Automotive giant, BMW celebrated it’s 100th birthday in March this year and to mark the centenary have launched their vision for the next 100 years, to further instill their core ethos of ‘Sheer Driving Pleasure’ to their customers. They aim to make their fascinating driving experience even more intense for drivers in the future, where the drive and vehicle will be in constant communication in an intuitive and natural way.

What I loved most about their birthday celebrations was the greetings they received from their heavyweight counterparts in the German automotive scene, Mercedes and Porsche, who have been known to publicly call out to each other in the media in an always impeccably classy, yet comical manner.

In a not so subtle and quite classy way, Mercedes paid homage to the legacy of BMW over the past 100 years. Mercedes launched a simple print and video birthday message, featuring the BMW famous grill image with the words: “Thank you for 100 years of competition” – a very gentlemanly way of congratulating their biggest rival, but they couldn’t leave it at that, they had to have a dig and show who’s boss following with…”The previous 30 years were actually a bit boring”.

I love the banter between these brands, it’s almost like a private schoolboy prank that they play on each other in the gentlemen’s club, always tasteful, but happy to out-do each other and out-ego each other to spur the next one along. There’s a mutual appreciation and respect of each other. Rivalry is what fuels these brands, it’s the cornerstone of the automotive industry, where most of the world’s top auto manufacturers have built deep intricate rival relationships with their counterparts, which have spanned decades. They know each other inside out! And this has a knock on affect to the fans, the  consumers and the sporting world alike. A bloke who drives a Beamer won’t buy a Merc and vice versa, it’s completely tribal from the top engineers, right down to the end consumer. They fuel off this rivalry, which has led to their endless technological and innovative breakthroughs within the industry. They need each other to maintain their edge. From a consumer point of view, it’s brilliant to watch them play off each other.

Here’s a couple of other jibes that the German heavyweights have pulled over each other in the past couple of years in the media.


Happy Birthday BMW.

Gemma Tedford

Director of Brand Projects

Pics courtesy of Mercedes, BMW, Audi



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