BMW is going up against itself
It earns the title of "most shocking car advert of 2021"
Just as every car brand making its way from building internal combustion-engined cars to fully electric vehicles, BMW seems to be struggling. Not in terms of electric technology or overall performance but in marketing. A few months ago, BMW pulled the covers off their first fully electric SUV and immediate reactions from car enthusiasts were.. complicated.
For one thing, the German brand getting away with such a gopping and useless font grill whereas the rest of the car looks pretty uninteresting resulted in disappointed BMW fans. On top of that, the interior quality seemed to be downgraded slightly from other models in the range. Still, as it faces the competition, the IX gets a bigger 100 kWh battery pack offering up to an estimated 600 electric kilometres. Audi's e-Tron will go 350 kilometres and the EQC should rank up 414 kilometres placing the IX way ahead of the competition. It also comes with 200kW rapid charging so 10 to 80 percent charge is dealt with in under 40 minutes.
After all then, maybe it is the logical choice to make.
The problem appears when you take a look at the brand's marketing videos for the new IX. The best example of what I'm on about lies in the video I've linked at the end of this article. Perhaps you've even already seen it. Before I get to the shocking message BMW is displaying in the video, this is how the advert pans out:
It takes place at the BMW Museum. The new IX is freshly arriving and, before it gets its place on the stand, it remains parked not far from BMW's precious 2008 760 Li.
This is a car we all consider a BMW great. Back in 2008, it also offered BMW's cutting edge technology and comfort as well as coming with serious performance. As soon as the driver and his colleague leave the scene, the old 7 series comes to life. Very soon and with a grandpa sounding "voice", it starts asking the new IX what it's doing here since the stand is all about proper cars not "toy cars". After this, the IX answers the 7 series with a young, female voice.
Progressively, the electric SUV starts insulting the 7 series, nominating all the latest technology BMW put into it and mocking the power, performance, and special aspect of the 760 Li. The IX is very clear to point out that the 7 series' time is over and that it can't understand modern-day technology.
The shocking message
In shorter terms, BMW is mocking themselves and the great cars they use to make. They're criticizing their heritage as well as their making of special cars. The 760 Li is part of the cars which made us like BMW so much. It may seem like a typically unrealistic advert, the message however is very clear: if you're part of those who like BMW for their stylish, fun to drive, special feeling cars, you can get lost, because you don't belong as a BMW fan anymore. You must make way for the new BMW costumer which, in this case, stands as a young, female person who doesn't seem to care an awful lot about style or driving pleasure.
That's not all
Late 2019 as an answer to the "Ok boomer, what's your reason not to change?" post, BMW released another marketing video for the IX in which the people involved ignored the negative comments coming in from disappointed BMW fans. Answers such as "Can't you make electric cars look like normal cars?", "So cold and sterile where's the heart?" or "Let me unsee this." vanish away by the touch of a button operated by the driver of the IX. Again then, BMW is showing us that their new costumers don't care about style, the driving experience, or the exclusivity of the German brand.
A calling to these adverts, BMW is showcasing the fact that it's now going to start making soulless and heartless electric vehicles with nothing to differentiate themselves from the crowd in the way we hoped BMW would. And after all, if you're disappointed with this choice, it means you're no longer "accepted" as a BMW fan.
The brand is clearly in a confusing spot at the moment as it isn't quite sure how to enter the electric car market and ends up making all the wrong choices. It's even more confusing when, on the one hand, another brand also named BMW has just released the latest BMW M5, M4, and M3, all three of which are special to drive as well as to look at, that's for sure. The marketing strategy for these cars hasn't changed. They still get showcased as the best driving cars in their segment.
On the other hand though, what we thought to be the same brand is now criticizing petrol-powered, fast, good looking cars.
What BMW should have done
On the other hand and also going through the same conversion to electric cars is Mercedes. A while back, they too launched their first built from the ground up electric car: the EQC. Just like BMW with the IX, Mercedes had one goal with their new electric SUV: sell them by the hundreds of thousands to make their entry into the electric car market. Where Mercedes went the right way through was how they marketed the new EQC. In their advert, they trace back the history of the brand, mentioning some of the greatest cars they ever built including the legendary 300 SL.
Along with the stunning scenery of Mercedes' greatest hits, the song "Blinding lights" from "The Weeknd" plays in the background. The singer of which is part of the advert and represents the perfect customer who will choose to buy the new EQC.
The message Mercedes gets across in the video is apparent at the end: No matter what powers the new EQC, it doesn't matter. The point is, it's a Mercedes. It comes with the heritage and experience of the three-pointed star at making great cars.
I hope this article wasn't too hard on BMW fans because God knows you don't want to upset those and, as ever, if you have something to add to this article, feel free to comment your thoughts below. Do you agree with this point of view? How could BMW make up for these upsetting decisions? Anyway, thanks for reading.
BMW IX advert: A story of generations: www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o4kKuOFToo&t=178s
BMW IX advert: What's your reason not to change: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XHr98Foq-w
Mercedes EQC advert: It's a Mercedes: www.youtube.com/watch?v=C83VEu-yuYA