Badly Branded Beamer

fridayfolly-bmw_2ndhand I normally reserve posts like this for my Friday Folly … but after an email from Andrea Learned asking for my take on this piece from BMW, it became clear that bad branding can happen to anyone on any day. It is just surprising to see this happening to a widely respected brand like BMW, who after all, should know better.

It is well known that any failure (creative or otherwise) is not normally the result of a single person. Along the way, errors and bad decisions are made, then reinforced until the pattern of poor decision making cannot be distinguished from the efforts made to rectify the errors. But surely, this print ad for "used cars" for would have been ringing bells at the agency and in the halls of the BMW marketing department (click the image to see the copy).

The girl modelling in this shoot is clearly young (old?) enough to be the daughter of your average BMW purchaser. To cast this girl in this ad not only shows questionable taste, it needlessly brings a "luxury" brand into the same sphere as Axe/Lynx. Obviously someone, somewhere has reviewed and approved this. As the folks over at Muse Communications said, "Is there anyone home at BMW Marketing?".

Yvonne DiVita is also unimpressed and wondering why there has not been a chorus of voices raised in protest.

To put this down to "lazy" advertising is too easy. While there is no strategic thinking behind this, and a surprisingly limited understanding of the BMW brand, poorly conceived work like this damages not just the brand in question but the entire advertising industry. Isn’t it time we started treating our audiences with a little respect?

And just in … another lazy piece of degrading advertising. This time, however, Wade Millican has taken action — speaking to the company approving the work and referring it to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

3 thoughts on “Badly Branded Beamer

  1. Thanks for the link and for following this. It’s just astonishing that a company such as BMW would allow this. I do not care that it was meant for an audience outside of America. Does that mean other countries allow and encourage soft-core porn using young children?
    I don’t think so. I think it’s revolting, it’s unacceptable and we need to keep talking about it – until BMW fesses up. This was clearly INTENTIONAL… and Moms, Dads, and concerned citizens of the world need to show their outrage.
    No one, anywhere, should be using children in a sexual nature to sell anything. Period.

  2. Yes…in my opinion, clearly not the best branding.
    But with all due respect, questioning BMW’s taste because the girl looks young…I don’t know.
    I’d prefer to live in a world of free love and nudity, rather than censorship and the religous right…bring back the swinging 60’s.

  3. BMW is not a cheeky brand and this campaign just doesn’t work. And using a young looking girl or even boy at this time just doesn’t seem like a logical step.

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