Controlling the brand experience

Bambi Francisco Roizen · April 7, 2008 · Short URL:

A campaign for a new model of BMW is indicative of mainstream marketers willingness to not control their brand image, but rather to let users have at it.

BMW is spending about $15 million to $25 million on a campaign that in part lets people on Facebook design virtual cars and share them with their friends in very creative ways -- like tossing keys or driving from one profile to another.  The amount represents about half of BMW’s overall campaign budget behind the carmaker’s 1-Series, a smaller, less-expensive model (roughly $28,600), and is far more than the typical 1% to 15% of total ad budgets for other models, according to the New York Times.

The news jumped out at me as I was flying to Boston today, given that Vator Box – our weekly show that analyzes and rates Vator video pitches – took a look at Gorillaspot, one of the many companies helping to usher in the era of user-generated and mashup advertisements. Gorillaspot’s video pitch is embedded in this piece.

The campaign is a collaboration between GSD&M Idea City in Austia, which is part of Omnicom Group, and Dotglu, which is part of a division in MDC Partners.  So, what’s behind the push? “We’re trying to let our hair down,” said Patrick McKenna, manager for marketing communications at BMW of North America. “The online generation is all about controlling the brand experience,” said Brendan Starr, of Idea City.

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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