Screencap from BMW 'Story of Joy' ad
BMW 'Joy' faux fragrance ad
For over three decades, BMW has relied on its "Ultimate Driving Machine" tagline, but now the automaker's new ad agency, GSD&M Idea City from Austin, Texas, are shifting to a new campaign that could have significantly broader appeal. The "Ultimate Driving Machine" tag and most of the campaigns that spun off of it appealed first and foremost to performance enthusiasts and speed junkies. The new "Story of Joy" campaign, however, sells BMW vehicles on something much simpler: the pure joy of driving them. And really, who doesn't like a little joy now and then?
The "Joy" campaign began rolling out in Germany last year, centered on the BMW Z4. (You might recall the "Expression of Joy" video, featuring the Z4 doing some crazy, giant-sized fingerpainting, as well as the Expression of Joy iPhone app [iTunes link].) Now that the campaign has launched in earnest on this side of the pond, BMW has added more videos and print ads to the campaign's lineup, including the one at left which is meant to look like a perfume insert. Good thing it's a fake-out; we can't imagine most women of our acquaintance wanting to smell like their local BMW mechanic -- or at least not like our local BMW mechanic (who's a very nice person, regardless).
We spotted the newest "Story of Joy" ad running a good bit over the weekend, during the Winter Olympics broadcasts. It's similar to ads that have been running in Europe, but slicker, and with the "authoritative, dramatic" Will Lyman on voiceover duty instead of, you know, Patrick Stewart.
Several TCC staffers think that the "Joy" campaign will end up watering down BMW's brand -- which has, let's face it, been built on performance. Others argue that "joy" and "performance" are fully compatible concepts. All we know is that in these up-and-down economic times, we fully understand BMW's desire to speak to every potential customer.