The new BMW 8 Series faced the challenge of a successful comeback into a crowded ultra-premium market. To reach its target audience, push past competition, and raise the BMW 8 Series to the top of consumers' consideration set, BMW created a campaign that showcased the luxury experience through a mobile-first approach.
Objective and Context:
BMW is known for innovation, performance, and design, but it was time to push luxury back to the top of its list. The auto maker hadn’t launched an ultra-luxury model since 1990. The new BMW 8 Series faced the challenge of a successful comeback into a crowded ultra-premium market, competing with pure luxury models such as the Porsche 911 and the Mercedes S Class. During BMW’s hiatus, the competition had increased. With seven vehicles all vying for consumer attention, and interest shrinking in light of SUVs’ rising popularity, BMW needed more than an average car launch campaign to stand out.
The 8 Series doesn’t mean anything unless consumers know about it. BMW needed to reach its entire target audience in a way that showcased BMW as a leader. Its objective was to:
The upper tier of the luxury automotive category is made up of elitist shoppers, or the very top of the 1 percent. Earning more than $400,000 a year minimum, this audience doesn't purchase for practicality; rather, their decisions are driven by emotions such as how the car makes them feel, what it says about their lifestyle, and so forth. While targeting this principal group, BMW also seized the opportunity to reach a secondary audience: aspiring BMW drivers looking to move up the ladder.
BMW knew that its target needed more than beauty shots to entice them. Their luxury purchases are based on look, touch, feel, and peer perceptions. This audience wants to know they're buying the best, and responds best to campaigns that showcase the luxury experience.
Deep dives into the target demographic revealed their high propensity for mobile; they have twice the smartphone penetration and spend a lot of their time on YouTube. BMW knew that leveraging mobile-specific tactics across all media channels would resonate with its target.
To push past the competition and raise "The 8" to the top of consumers' consideration set, BMW crafted a cross-mobile integrated media journey to be experienced through a premium lens — one that felt as luxurious as the car itself at every touchpoint. With its mobile-first strategy, it created a way for consumers to be experientially romanced by The 8 before ever slipping into the driver's seat.
Overall Campaign Execution:
BMW's target audience didn't just see ads online. Its mobile-first approach gave its audience bespoke experiences where they indexed highest, on mobile, by leveraging customized beta ad units on YouTube's Homefeed and using the new TrueView immersive video ad, making it the first auto brand in the channel.
Immersive TrueView video placements generated mass awareness, allowing for ownership of entire ad blocks on mobile devices and continued brand presence and share of voice after ad. Its beta opportunity, Homefeed Ads, captured awareness through mobile-first placements; it also engaged with users who had shown interest in The 8 during the discovery phase. Lastly, a robust social strategy with all creative optimized for mobile let the target audience feel the luxurious lifestyle that comes with the 8 Series.
The results of BMW’s cross-mobile integration strategy exceeded expectations across all three objectives.
It increased awareness:
It changed perception:
But most importantly, it increased sales: