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3.9 Case Study: BMW South Africa

BMW South Africa has been innovative in its use of online campaigns to complement its offline activities. When it came to marketing the new BMW 1 Series, BMW knew that drivers of the BMW 1 Series are generally slightly younger and at a different lifestyle age from the average BMW driver. So BMW looked at new and innovative ways as well as traditional and tested methods to reach this target market. Over July and August 2007, they ran an online campaign aimed at raising awareness of the new 1 Series BMW, generating test-drive bookings and, ultimately, driving sales leads.

The entire campaign was integrated, from print advertisements to the Internet, and aimed at driving people to the Web site, where they were encouraged to engage with the campaign. Here, the campaign was an invitation to individuals to share their interpretation of “one” by creating a video or photo. As two different BMW 1 Series models were promoted, a two-door and a four-door, the payoff line across all channels of the campaign hinged on the difficulty to focus on “just one.”

BMW targeted individuals utilizing a variety of different ad formats, both online and on mobile phones. These included standard banners as well as banners that expanded over competitor images.

Figure 3.6 An Online Advertisement for the BMW South Africa Campaign from 2007

The target market was reached through driving and lifestyle associations and advertisements were placed in competitive environments on driving Web sites and on corporate blogs. As well as using mobizines (branded mobile phone content), BMW partnered with Zoopy, a South African video-sharing Web site, to tap into an existing community and invite them to interact with the brand.

The digital media campaign reached over 450,000 individuals and drove over 11 percent of the test-drive bookings concluded on the BMW Web site over the campaign period.

Case Study Questions

  1. How do you think BMW benefited from adapting existing print advertising for the online campaign?
  2. Describe the target audience of the BMW 1 Series. Why is it suited to an online campaign??
  3. Consumers are unlikely to purchase a car online. How would you measure the success of this campaign?