Why I (heart) joy…and BMW


Photo credit: orangewheels.co.uk

What a treat to unfold my WSJ the other morning and have an 11×11 object fall out.  It looked like a color brochure, printed on heavy stock, and folded into squares.  The top square said the following:

We do not make cars.

We are the creators of emotion.

We are the keepers of thrill.

We are the guardians of one three-letter word.


Intrigued, I unfolded it to reveal a gorgeous  4 foot by 3 foot poster ad for BMW.  One one side, each square held a wonderful vignette of people interacting with their car, with captions like “Joy is maternal” and “Joy is youthful”. Others read “Joy is who we answer to”, “Joy can be counted” and “Joy is timeless.” They interspersed what can only be described as “car porn” in some of the pictures, showing BMW’s latest models that are nothing short of breathtaking and modern.

This piece exemplifies all the best things about good brand marketing:

1) It’s believable: I really do believe BMW’s claims that their loyalists find joy in driving their cars, and that they find joy in making beautiful machines.

2) It’s credible: Hey, it’s BMW. They are no slackers.

3) It’s benefit-driven: They focused on a mission and an emotional purpose of eliciting joy in their customers. They focused on the thrill of driving a great car, not just the features and gadgets.

4) It’s differentiating: Others might be out touting fuel efficiency and safety these days, all noble, important benefits for many audiences. But instead of singing the same song, this piece caught my attention because it only tried to do one thing and did it well: it tapped into my emotional thrill for a gorgeous car

4) It’s gorgeous: Truly, the piece was visually stunning and also in line with BMW’s brand and what I would expect.

5) It’s unexpected: It didn’t show up in my overwhelmed in-box or as just a normal full page ad in the WSJ. It literally fell into my lap.  Could get annoying after a while if to many people start doing this, but for now it just made me pay attention.

6) It had a call to action: There was a 1-800 number on one of the squares to call for your nearest dealer. Not all brand advertising has to be as esoteric and abstract as perfume ads, ya know. After all, they want to sell cars.

Well done, BMW, well done. You caught my attention. And ironically, just when my husband and I were debating whether we would buy a Mercedes or BMW if we had a choice. Were you eavesdropping?!

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