The Expression of Joy Ad campaign by BMW; May be an Expression of Big Money Wasted


Companies spend millions and often billions to advertise their products in their marketplace however the effort to be creative often results in a dilution of their message. When your message lacks clarity, it requires an interpreter…and the variability of the individual interpreters’ ability (your salespeople) to articulate your value is not something market leading companies leave to chance today.


When its 114 degrees in Scottsdale Arizona there is not much to do on weekends unless you head for the higher elevations to escape the heat. As I said when I wrote: Are interruptions “transforming “your customers into shoppers again? I like to go to movies. Now that we are into the hottest part of our summer I am seeing a number of movies.

Is it me or are the ads prior to the movies getting longer? Do they really need to advertise TV series in movie theaters? Recently, I observed something interesting, the “Expression of Joy ad” by BMW. The ad starts out with a Z4 driving through paint and painting the surface like it were a huge canvas, with just one problem…when the ad came on the audience in the theater verbally groaned. So I’m not the only one who has seen this ad and hates it? Is it the music or is it because the ad feels like “the never ending ad?”

Personally I think BMW’s make amazing vehicles, and I get what they were trying to do with this ad; however the audience I shared the theater with not only failed to appreciate this ad’s artistic expression, but verbally groaned when the ad started.

I hear comments in front of me sharing their disdain for this ad. Now mind you, there were a number of other ads from an air conditioned indoor storage facility to a counter top manufacturer who supplies four different surfaces based on your needs, budget, and overall design objectives. None of the other ads caused a group audience response like the BMW ad, again…interesting.

Did BMW test this ad prior to its release? I am curious what the total cost of this ad was and is it driving the desired sales revenues, or just another Addy award for the creative team that developed and produced this masterpiece?

To me this ad says: our cars have so much margin in them we can afford to produce ads like this… 

The reason for this post is not to bash BMW, as I said they engineer amazing driving machines, their fit and finish is best in class, but more so to challenge everyone reading this to listen to the responses your market is making to your advertising. Are you listening? Is your advertising about driving revenue, adding value to your bottom line, or helping your ad firm win another award to dust on a shelf before their next new account pitch? As I discussed in my post: 88% of Those Surveyed Said Advertising Services Have Become Commoditized? Ad Firms Heal Thy Self! I discuss how ad firms must fight the perception their services have become commoditized. Perhaps the firm that created the BMW Z4 ad swung the pendulum too far in the creative direction? At the end of the day, my single opinion does not mean much, but an audience of consumers in north Scottsdale Arizona, groaning when your ad comes on should get BMW’s attention.

Are you listening to the response or lack of response to your advertising?

Have you tested your soon to be released creative in your market?

When you developed the creative, did you do so with a specific buyer persona in mind?

Or do you think I am just a ROI Neanderthal who lacks an appreciation for artistic expression?


Market leading companies create messages that resonate not repulse their market.


5 thoughts on “The Expression of Joy Ad campaign by BMW; May be an Expression of Big Money Wasted

  1. Tom says:

    I’m a marketer in education, so not affiliated with the audio industry. I don’t know about the ads you are referring to, but the radio spots they are running about their new safety features got my attention and made me think that they are the leading-edge company for safety right now. It’s easy to make the decision that performance is not worth paying $50K for when a car that costs much less does well enough, but if I had that kind of money, it would be harder to make that argument to myself over safety.

    • markallenroberts says:

      Thank you for the comment, I taught marketing at a College in Ohio several years ago! You are teaching our next leaders!
      Please do not misunderstand; I believe BMW makes amazing vehicles. My challenge for us all is are we listening to the responses our market have to our messaging?
      Thanks again,

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