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Thursday, August 10, 2006


BMW and The Dangers of Blogging

I wrote a piece about why it's a mistake for BMW to drop, "The Ultimate Driving Machine" tag line...based on a column by Al Ries, famed marketing consultant. Turns out Al assumed the tag line was changing...it's not. In the comment below, Eric Webber of GSD&M, agency of record for BMW says, "NOT TRUE."

My apologies to BMW and GSD&M...

I once saw this happen on the Ford business. Quality is Job 1 was the corporate slogan. Some thought that was the Ford brand slogan. No...the Ford brand slogan, at that time, was "Have You Driven A Ford Lately? (agency was JWT)" "Quality is Job 1" (agency was O&M) was intended to be a halo across Ford, Lincoln and Mercury (this was before the PAG/Premiere Auto Group and Volvo were added to the Ford family).

In closing, I'm glad the tag line remains...it's distinctive and fits the brand perfectly.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


BMW's Advertising Changes Lanes

After forever and a day, BMW's abandoning "The Ultimate Driving Machine." I think it's a mistake...a big one. BMW's entire brand DNA is based on building the best handling small, midsized, large luxury cars and trucks. So, why change it? According to Al Ries, a changing of the guard at BMW (a new Exec. VP) means it is finally time for a new ad slogan.

A business associate of mine once said...it's really easy to change the "image" of something that has little or no image...because you're starting from scratch. Sure you will need PR and an Ad budget. But try to change the image of Oldsmobile? Now that is going to take some work...because Oldsmobile stood for something for a long time. As most of us know...Oldsmobile failed and is now on the heap of dead brands, having lost its way as it attempted to change it image and products.

I'd say the same is true for BMW. The new campaign makes me think that BMW is chasing someone else's business...maybe Lexus or Infiniti or Mercedes. But, in changing its ethos, BMW is likely to alienate its core owner base...the people that identified with BMW's obsession to building great handling luxury performance cars. For the past 20-30 years, in the US, BMW has delivered driving machines in spades, passing Mercedes in luxury sales in the process. What, did everyone suddenly decide they don't want the Ultimate Driving Machine? BMW's US sales say otherwise. I think the old saying, "be careful of what you wish for...you just may get it" applies here.

If BMW isn't the ultimate driving machine...then what is it? According to the new folks in charge (and Al Ries), BMW is now,

"A company of ideas"

I don't want a car that is full of ideas. I want performance and luxury in a nice looking package.

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