BMW i8 is the Bavarians’ most technologically advanced vehicle they have ever built. The hybrid sportscar has not only been praised for its looks, and won several awards for it, but also for its advanced technology and use of lightweight materials.
To win over a new clientele that now might opt for a Tesla Model S or even more expensive supercars, BMW North America and New York-based Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, BMWNA’s agency of record, have partnered up to launch a tech-based advertising campaign.
BMW has put the $136,650 plug-in hybrid sports car at the center of a national marketing campaign called “BMW Innovations,” which started Sept. 1. The campaign also aims to showcase consumers that some of the tech found in the i8 can also be had in less expensive models, like the 3 Series Sedan and X3 SAV. Using a halo car, BMWNA wants to make a powerful statement: innovation is at the core of the brand.
Innovation is at the core of everything we do,” Trudy Hardy, vice president of marketing at BMW of North America, said in a statement on the campaign, which also includes incentives — ranging from $500 for a base 3 series to $2,000 for a 7 series, 6 series or 328i sedan — called “innovations credits.”
One of the first TV ads to kick off the campaign is called “Looking forward” and focuses on the i8’s high-tech Head-Up Display. The ad cleverly uses a 3 Series Sedan to tie the feature to lower-end models.
A second spot features the Surround View cameras which give a 360 degree view of the car and it’s the best aid when parking or backing out of tight places.
The system “keeps you fully aware of the road around you,” says the narrator, the camera panning to a crossover, “even when you’re driving the BMW X3.”
Even though the campaign is displayed nationwide, the focus is mostly on the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, one known for its glamorous life and customers, while the second one for its tech millionaires and forward thinkers. In the Sillicon Valley, cars like the Tesla Model S or the Porsche 918 Spyder, are the darlings of high-tech gadgets lovers.
One of the its biggest supporters and now a BMW i8 owner, Tony Fadell, who was development chief for the iPod and iPhone before leaving Apple to form the company Nest Labs, has praised the i8 for its design and technology.
“An amazing concept car made it to production without modification — which is rare,” Bloomberg quoted Fadell as saying. “Bold design plus bold vehicle technology.”
Will that be enough to raise the BMW i’s brand profile? Time will tell, but the sub-brand is off to a good start.