BMW's "Company of Ideas" Campaign:
Targeting the "Creative Class"

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG137
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 2004-2006
Organization : BMW of North America LLC
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note : Available
Countries : USA
Industry : Auto & Ancillaries

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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The "Company Of Ideas" Campaign

The ad campaign was unveiled through various media such as newspapers, magazines, television, cable network, outdoor billboards and the Internet.

The campaign tried to communicate BMW's independence and freedom to pursue innovative ideas, as it was neither owned by nor part of a division of another company.

(Refer to Exhibit VI (A) for the "company of ideas" print ads, Exhibit VI (B) for the "company of ideas" TV ads, and Exhibit VII for a new BMW print ad).

Though BMW still used the tagline "The Ultimate Driving Machine," the ads placed little emphasis on its high performance features like horsepower, etc.,- a sharp departure from its earlier ads. The new ads projected BMW as a "company of ideas," where radical ideas and designs were encouraged, so that the company's products reflected its tagline as "The Ultimate Driving Machine."

Reactions To The Campaign

Analysts were struck by the originality of the ad campaign. Some felt that the campaign would win advertising awards and also help BMW to exorcise the ghosts of the past (read: its association with the yuppie phenomenon of the 1980s). But there were others who were disappointed with the ads. They were also annoyed by the veiled competitor bashing in the campaign and felt that it was bad advertising. Some felt that BMW was insecure and felt threatened by the increase in competition...


Exhibit I: The BMW logo
Exhibit II: BMW Headquarters
Exhibit III: BMW's Key Financials (2001-05)
Exhibit IV: Product Segmentwise Revenue of BMW Group - 2005
Exhibit V: Regionwise Revenue of BMW Group - 2005 (in %)
Exhibit VI (A): The "Company of Ideas" Print Ads
Exhibit VI (B): The "Company of Ideas" TV ads
Exhibit VII: A New BMW Print AD (2006)
Exhibit VIII: A View of the Leipzig Plant


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