BMW NA is actively looking for a new ad agency. In late 2010, BMW of North America ended its contract with GSD&M Idea City, the ad shop responsible for the “Joy of Driving” campaign. Six months ago, the tragic death of Jack Pitney, triggered a change at the top of BMWNA’s marketing department. Dan Creed assumed the role of top marketing executive as of October 1, 2010.
To show his commitment to television, Creed’s first executive decision was BMW’s return to Superbowl advertising after 10 years. But Creed plans to continue focusing on TV ads. Advertising Age estimates that BMW will spend around $160 million in the next few years.
Last month Creed formally launched the search for a new agency to handle national brand, regional and dealer advertising, and multicultural marketing. The work currently is parceled out to various agencies.
In an interview with Automotive News, Creed said BMW will spend more on advertising this year than in 2010 but will not return to prerecession levels. Creed not only plans to focus on TV, but also on the emerging and ever growing social media segment where BMW has been one of the leaders among automakers. The new and redesigned X3 has been part of the online world for months now, with a giveaway contest running on BMW’s Facebook page, or via various mobile applications that enable customers to connect with the car. Later in the year, BMW will launch campaigns citing innovations and technologies said to set it apart from the competition.
At the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in February, Creed told dealers that national TV will eat up 68 percent of the budget and local TV another 8 percent. About 15 percent is being spent on digital marketing, including the Internet and mobile device ads, and 2 percent in movies. The remaining 7 percent goes to print.
Creed says BMW marketing will be influenced by a motto he used in BMW’s aftersales: “Simpler, faster and better.”
Creed, who was born in Canada, grew up in the business. His father was a Chevrolet dealer in Buffalo, N.Y. As a student at the University of Ottawa, he earned spending money buying cars at auction and flipping them to fellow students. After college he sold cars at a Saab, Saturn and Isuzu dealership in Toronto and eventually became general manager.
He joined BMW Canada in 1996 and became marketing manager at age 30. Creed came to the United States in 2003 to run certified used-vehicle sales and later various sales regions and then aftermarket sales.