More Big-Money-Wasted by BMW in new ad campaign? We will have to wait and see…

I read an article on BrandWeek today by Anthony Crupi titled: BMW Pumps Diesel and Anthony did a particularly good job in grasping BMW’s objectives behind what we are about to see in a new BMW ad;

“For us, it’s about changing the perception that diesel is still that noisy and smelly [technology] many people remember from the ‘70s.” “For us, it’s about changing the perception that diesel is still that noisy and smelly [technology] many people remember from the ‘70s.”

The trouble is, as a potential consumer of one of your driving machines…I really do not care Patrick (the guy in charge at BMW) what it is about “for you”.

What problem are you solving for me?

Affluent Americans don’t want to sacrifice performance for fuel efficiency,” McKenna said. “The 335d can go from 0-60 [mph] in 6 seconds flat …That’s immediate power.”

Now you are talking!

But what about starting my diesel car at the Cleveland airport in the winters…did you solve this?

Although not as focused on the environment and fuel efficiency as I should be, I do follow the cost per gallon of fuel, and if I am not mistaken, one of the historical advantages of why consumers chose diesel vehicles was the lower cost per gallon.

On the one side you have Mercedes, who did a great job of connecting their product to; Luxury, power and torch, and longevity (they run forever)

On the other side you have VW who have raving fans of their economical diesel vehicles that are fun to drive and last forever as well. VW too is tapping consumers on the shoulder today with a message of ““Better performance AND higher gas mileage than a Prius”.

From my days in international sales I still have relationships with past JV partners in Germany that are now friends and they openly share how fun their BMW 3 series are to drive.


What this “feels” like is you are trying to win the hearts and pocket books of “potentials” those people who are not current customers, and are not currently shopping, but thinking about diesel vehicles? So you are actively attacking their perceived problems with your solution. Your current raving fans in the US who own M5’s will pass on your new offering.

So who is your targeted buyer persona?

New buyers of diesel vehicles are more likely to swing into VW’s camp as their position is clearly defined if their need is; fun to drive, economical, and longevity. If what they want is performance and Luxury, they will swing to Mercedes who currently owns this position.

Is this Product Launch (re launch really as you are one of the leaders in diesel vehicles in Europe) an example of “Right idea but late?” We will see…

I am looking forward to see this ad, as I am a huge fan of your vehicles, engineering, fit and finish, just not a fan of your execution of marketing “messaging” as of late as I discussed in my blog post : The Expression of Joy Ad campaign by BMW; May be an Expression of Big Money Wasted . Business leaders follow you “Big Guys” and I would hate to see smaller businesses clouding their messaging with “creative that requires an interpreter”. (But there I go again being a ROI driven Neanderthal)

Again Patrick, you make amazing vehicles, but because of that my expectation is your messaging will also be amazing. To be amazing I want to “get it” when I see it, and not be like everyone else in a packed movie theater and groan when your ad is played.

I want you to clearly state the problem you solve for me. I do not want some “foo foo marketing creative” that requires an interpreter, because then BMW means Big – Money- Wasted to me.


How about your business….


Does a big expensive ad add value in your business?


Or do they send a message you are disconnected to the market’s true needs?


Or worst, do these big budget ads and media buys make you, as a loyal customer feel you must have over paid for their product if they can afford such Big Money Wasted?


I predict this campaign will be a flop if I need an art director to explain it to me and they do not explain their distinctive competence clearly with an emotional attachment  that resonates with me.



10 thoughts on “More Big-Money-Wasted by BMW in new ad campaign? We will have to wait and see…

    • Thank you,

      With the “C” suite focusing on ROI more than ever, it disturbs me to see: Big….Money….Wasted

      As marketers we must add value by knowing our markets, our buyers, and their voice, and problems.

      I think BMW is an awesome company, and their product is amazing, but their message left me scratching my head.


  1. Mikko says:

    “But what about starting my diesel car at the Cleveland airport in the winters…did you solve this?”

    What needs to be solved? At least we don’t have any problems here in Skandinavia. Every winter temperature sinks down to -30 °F and we have lots of diesel cars here.

  2. Yeah that’s another myth left over from the 70’s. The new diesels are not nearly as hard to start. The new diesel tech is really awesome and most of the new clean diesels from VW can get 50-60mpg why even mess with hybrid. Let’s stop gap with these until hydrogen is ready.

    • As marketers we need to speak to “perceived” problems as well as actual ones once we identify needs that have a large enough base with those problems, and they are willing to pay to solve them.


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