Long Term Success (SILVER)

Client Credits: BMW Group Canada
BMW Group Canada
Kevin Marcotte
Kerry Fleiser
Melissa Luong
Marc Belcourt
Jonathan Thomson

Agency Credits: Cundari
Creative Agency: Cundari
Chief Creative Officer: Andrew Simon: Brent Choi
Creative Director: Brian Murray: Mike Dietrich: Raul Garcia
Art Director: Mike Dietrich: Sarah Adlam: Raul Garcia: Andrew Bernardi
Copywriter: Brian Murray: Alexandra Manahan: Maggie Pycherek
Agency Producer: Melanie Lambertsen: Sumit Ajwani
Account Managers: Adam Lang: Anna Halfpenny: Amanda Sanguigni: Katie Lynn: Daryn Sutherland
Executive Producer: Winston Helgason: Pete King
Production Company: The Embassy VFX: Big Block: Bandito Brothers
Producer: Danielle Kinsey: Kay Rough: Ted Herman: John Durrant: Phil Fyfe
Director: Ozan Biron: Mark Glaser: Mike "Mouse" McCoy
VFX Supervisor: David Casey
CG Supervisor: Michael Blackbourn
Editor: Ozan Biron: Brandon Porter
Cinematographer: Ozan Biron: Shaun Lawless: Mark Glaser
Colourist: Dave Casey
Animator: Adam Marisett
SFX: Dmitri Bajenov: Himanshu Joshi: Mike Lowes: Paul Copeland: Simon van de Lagemaat: Tristam Gieni
Compositor: Austin Basile: Marc-Andre Gray: Michael Stewart: Nikolai Michaleski
Production Supervisor: Kristi Lippa
Post Production Companies: The Embassy: Lemonade Films: Whitehouse Post
Audio Companies: Source Sound: Silent Joe West
Audio Director: Charles Deenen: Roger Harris: Jamey Scott
Sound Design: Charles Deenen: Toni Gort: Jo Rossi
Media Experts: Karel Wegert: Kris Davis: George Huovinen: Jennifer Douglass
Strategist: Andrea Sampson
Social Media Agency: Com.motion
Social Strategist: Laurie Weir

Total 2987 Words


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):June 2011 - July 2014
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: June 8 2011
Base Period as a Benchmark: June 2010 - December 2010

a) Overall Assessment

BMW has long been seen as the leader of the Canadian premium automotive segment. The brand’s original reputation and success came largely from its commitment to automotive engineering and delivering a far superior driving experience. This has been a truth of the brand since its inception and was plainly evident in BMW’s long, successful, and innovative presence on the high-performance professional automotive racing circuit.

As the business grew in Canada, there was an unexpected affect on the brand. With the almost prolific popularity of the 3 Series combined with success in the expanding SUV segment, BMW realized it was beginning to become known and desired more for its badge value than its once-lauded high-performance credentials.  Complicating matters further, Audi was on the ascendant and Mercedes-Benz was finally getting a hold of the younger, more dynamic consumer it had long been pursuing.

Without a doubt, Audi’s and Mercedes-Benz’s success and encroachment into BMWs territory was due to an elevated focus on high-performance vehicle positioning. As the primary part of their brand communication, both Audi and Mercedes-Benz had pursued a “halo” strategy whereby the audience for their higher-volume vehicles was being wooed by dream cars. Audi introduced the impressive R8 through its high-performance private subsidiary company and based the model on the Lamborghini Gallardo platform. Mercedes-Benz thrilled gear-heads and classic car aficionados alike with the SLS AMG; a modern take on the iconic gull-wing SLS of the 1950s. 

To assert its category leadership and further entrench the brand’s differentiating high-performance credentials, BMW decided to fight fire with fire by getting back to its roots. The brand’s high-performance line of M vehicles was the apex of BMW innovation, engineering, and passion, and through them Canadians would be reminded what BMW and the thrill of driving were truly all about.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

  1. Sell out Canada’s M allocation of vehicles, with specific model focus by year:
    1. 2011 additional focus on 1M
    2. 2012 additional focus was M5
    3. 2013 no additional model focus[1]
    4. 2014 additional focus was M4
  2. Drive year over year volume growth
  3. Renew engagement with the BMW brand


c) Annual Media Budget


BMW M Media Budget









d) Geographic Area

Canada national, English and French.

[1] Campaign was dormant in 2013.

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area

[1] Campaign was dormant in 2013.

a) Analysis and Insight

BMW’s roots had always been grounded in the sheer joy of the drive – a “driver’s” car first and foremost. Its DNA is one of raw, exhilarating performance and is supported with a rich, authentic history and racing heritage. So, while “performance” language and claims in the luxury automotive category had become and remain commonplace, we understood that believability of performance truly belonged to BMW. We just had to get back to it with authenticity, passion, and simplicity of messaging.

To generate the momentum and bigness this campaign needed, we knew we had to capture the hearts, minds, and imaginations of those who “get it” – not just BMW advocates, but car enthusiasts at large – those who intuitively understood the BMW brand and what it was all about. This was about showing, and not telling, what BMW performance was all about. And it was about letting not just the car speak for itself, but getting others to speak on its behalf.

The insight really was that car enthusiasts love to engage, research, keep abreast of the latest news and technology and demonstrate their expertise and knowledge. We also knew that car enthusiasts do the majority of that research online and that they are heavily engaged with online blogs and discussion forums.

b) Communication Strategy

Our overarching approach was to develop an ongoing, completely original, and Canadian-only campaign platform that would efficiently drive sales and consumer engagement with minimal investment. Recognizing we had a range of models in the M line of vehicles to work with, and there was a planned succession of new model introductions and enhancements (in 2011, 2012, and 2014), we determined we could capitalize on new product news with our renewed focus on high-performance to compound breakthrough and effectiveness.

Spark a discussion – heck, ignite a debate.

In the months preceding the introduction of our new campaign, there was a lot of buzz internationally around the design and production of the new 1M (the vehicle was named 1M, not M1) in the lead up to its launch. While the bulk of car enthusiasts were highly anticipating the arrival of the 1M, there was some online debate and chatter that the 1M would not be able to deliver true M performance – that it wasn’t a “true” M vehicle.

We set out to leverage that buzz and discussion, capitalize on it and provide the audience a platform upon which to debate even further. The aim was to inspire and facilitate others to join in the conversation. This would prove true for the subsequent executions we did for the M5 in 2012 and the M4 in 2014.

a) Media Used

The BMW M campaign was supported by an integrated, national media plan, which included:

2011 (Media Budget: $900,000)

  • Cinema: Full motion pre-show
  • Online: Rich-media and Standard online banners, mobile ad units, YouTube homepage takeover
  • Magazine: Full Page and Double Page Spread layouts for 6 publications
  • OOH boards: 5 static boards, 1 vertical airport column (TSA style)
  • Business elevators


2012 (Media Budget: $1.2 Million)

  • Online: Rich-media and Standard online banners, mobile ad units, competitive target ads, ad exchanges, YouTube homepage takeover
  • Magazine: Full Page and Double Page Spread layouts for 9 publications
  • OOH boards: 13 static boards, :30 airport videos, airport elevator wraps, transit shelter ads, including 1/3 of all Transit Shelter faces available in the Greater Toronto area


2013 (Media Budget: $0)

The decision was made to ride the wave of success from 2012 and not spend additional funds in 2013. 


2014 (Media Budget: $1.2 Million)

  • TV: :15 TVC 
  • Online: Standard online banners, mobile ad units, competitive target ads, :15 Pre-Roll video, YouTube homepage takeover, Social media ads 
  • Magazine: Full Page and Double Page Spread layouts for 7 publications 

OOH boards: 1 painted mural

b) Creative Discussion

As the centerpiece to our M creative campaign, we set out to create a series of M-powered precision performance films that would push the boundaries of believability. Given a modest media budget as well as regulatory restrictions of showing aggressive car footage on TV, starting in 2011, we embraced this social video approach to fan the flames of conversation and actively engage car enthusiasts in dialogue around the performance capabilities of M vehicles.



Our first film, entitled “Walls”, showcased the precision performance of the 1M as it drifted through 1M-sized holes in concrete walls. To make this feel less like an ad and more like a captured experience, the sound design was intentionally raw, relying on the 1M’s engine and squealing tires. And we purposely let the film speak for itself without adding supers or logos.  


This was soon followed up by “Helipad”, showing the 1M drifting on the world’s highest rooftop helipad.

BMW_Helipad_StillsWe continued our “M Powered” messaging in all mediums. For Outdoor in both English and French-speaking Canada, we played off the performance-driven idea of M taking off like a rocket ship.

Montreal Airport OOH

And in print, we began to tell the larger M story through car-focused, impactful imagery. We literally put the spotlight on the vehicles and let their aesthetic appeal do all the heavy lifting.

Siblings Print 


In 2012, we expanded our story to feature more of the M family. By introducing the idea of “The most powerful letter in the world,” we further cemented our credentials across the broad spectrum of BMW M vehicles.

M Family Print

And we took advantage of strategic media placement as well to play up M’s performance capabilities. At the Calgary Airport, our Superboard greeted travelers with Stampede-focused messaging.

Calgary Airport OOH 

At the same time we cast a spotlight on the M5, considered the world’s fastest premium sedan, as the hero vehicle for our social video. We created ‘high performance art’ to show the refined luxury of M5 by intercutting exciting high-speed driving footage with serene super slow motion sequences. Like a bullet being shot from a gun, we see the M5 being shot out of a darkened tunnel and making impact with a series of obstacles – giant water balloons, an enormous glass apple, and finally exploding through a target.

BMW Bullet Stills

Street level posters encouraged passersby to watch the film on their mobile phones.


A series of high impact geo-targeted digital placements including rich media banners and page takeovers extended our message.

BMW M5 BigBox

 BMW M5 Page Takeover



Following the principle of our communications plan to restore the high-performance credentials of the brand, BMW walked the walk and went back to its roots with the new M4. The centerpiece to our national, fully integrated campaign became a social video featuring the M4 doing the seemingly impossible – racing on a super carrier in the middle of the ocean. The super carrier, the largest form of aircraft carrier, is an engineering achievement of the highest level making it the perfect match for the M4. To see the M4 accelerating at high speeds, taking hairpin turns, and performing slides and drifts while hugging the edge of the super carrier would showcase what an amazing vehicle this truly was. 

BMW Ultimate Racetrack Stills

In Print and Outdoor, we celebrated our ‘Ultimate Racetrack’ with shots of both the M3 and M4 with an ocean backdrop.

Uncharted Territory Print

Uncharted Territory Outdoor

From a digital perspective, we used a targeted big box to play-up the features of the new M4. And we launched a new, custom YouTube gadget providing fans with a premium viewing experience to encourage further entertainment and education about the M line of vehicles including past M powered films.

BMW BigBox

BMW Youtube Page

c) Media Discussion

The BMW M campaign was supported by an integrated, national media plan. It combined hard-working elements that drove to the YouTube videos with traditional media placements that increased awareness of the BMW M brand.

Driving video views was an important campaign tactic. When each video launched, digital media buys across mass traffic networks and carefully selected homepage takeovers on high-impression sites, such as YouTube, drove millions of views.  A carefully orchestrated competitive targeting tactic was also employed, involving any content related to competitive vehicles on the Google Display Network being targeted with BMW M teaser ads. In 2014, a strategic social strategy was executed, which included seeding the “Ultimate Racetrack” video to a large group of high-profile individuals who were identified as key influencers to our target consumer. These influencers shared the video on their own networks, helping to drive video views. 

Offline audiences were also targeted with full force. With the launch of each video, a careful selection of Magazine Print ads and OOH boards worked hard as teasers to entice audiences to view the videos on YouTube. Notably, in 2012, with the launch of the M5 “Bullet – High Performance Art” video, an extremely aggressive OOH domination strategy included securing over 1/3 of all Transit Shelter faces available in the Greater Toronto Area. In 2014, a :15 TVC was introduced which served as a teaser driving to the M4 “Ultimate Racetrack” video on YouTube. To maximize the efficiency of the investment, the TVC aired during carefully selected sporting events that attract a high composition of our target consumer.

Rounding out the experience, in 2014 the first-ever BMW M gadget on BMW Canada’s YouTube channel was launched, which housed the M4 video and provided robust content related to the BMW M brand.

Driving video views was not the only media consideration. To complement the video aspect of the campaign, a large portion of the media served to create broad awareness of the BMW M brand. Select Print, OOH, digital, and Social Media ads featured the entire M family of vehicles, promoting the BMW M brand as a whole.

a) Sales/Share Results

The BMW M campaign has been extremely successful against all objectives, with incredible achievements in sales, volume growth, and brand engagement.

1.     Sell out Canada’s M allocation of vehicles:

  • 2011
    • The total sale of all BMW M vehicles exceeded the target by 19%.
    • All 210 available units of the 1M Coupé (which was only introduced that year) were sold.
  • 2012
    • The total sale of all BMW M vehicles exceeded the target by 21%.
    • Since the campaign creative in 2011 and 2012 featured the 1M and M5, these models experienced a significant lift in sales. In 2012, the total sale of 1M and M5 vehicles exceeded the targets by 35% and 14%, respectively.
  • 2013
    • Given the campaign’s strong momentum and success, the decision was made to hold on making a further investment into the campaign this year. This had a direct impact on the total sale of BMW M vehicles in Canada, resulting in BMW Canada falling short of its sales target for BMW M vehicles by 4%. 
  • 2014
    • Since the campaign’s dormancy had a negative impact on sales results in 2013, the campaign was revived in 2014. This year, BMW Canada’s year-to-date sales of BMW M vehicles are 142% higher than the same period in 2013. 

2.     Drive year over year volume growth:

Year over year, the campaign improved BMW Canada’s rank in the global M market, in terms of BMW M sales as a percentage of total BMW sales. Prior to launching the BMW M campaign, in 2010 BMW Canada ranked 2nd globally in BMW M sales penetration. In 2011, after launching the campaign, BMW Canada soared to 1st place and held this position steadily for 3 years. The campaign’s impact on BMW M’s success in Canada is further evidenced by BMW Canada dropping back to 2nd place in 2014 following the campaign dormancy in 2013.[1]


3.     Renew engagement with the BMW brand:

In addition to the obvious growth in engagement from consumers at the Retail level (as evidenced by the huge sales lift), the campaign sparked massive engagement in the online community. Each video set new records for views of any BMW video, and reached some incredible milestones: 

  • (2011) 1M “Walls”:
    • Achieved 1 Million views in 8 days  
    • Achieved 3.3 Million views in 3 months
    • Ranked the #1 Most Discussed, Top Favorited, Most Discussed, and Most Viewed Automotive Video in June and July on all of YouTube
    • Received 3,400+ YouTube comments
  • (2012) M5 “Bullet – High Performance Art”:
    • Achieved 1 Million views in 2 days
    • Achieved 3.8 Million views in 3 months
    • Became the #1 Most Liked Canadian Automotive Video on YouTube, ever!
    • Ranked the #1 Most Discussed, Top Favorited, and Most Viewed Automotive Video in June and July on all of YouTube
    • Received 5,800+ YouTube comments
  • (2014) M4 “Ultimate Racetrack”:
    • Achieved 1 Million views in 37.5 hours (Just over 1.5 days)
    • Achieved 4 Million views in 2 weeks
    • Ranked in AdWeek's top 5 videos and within the top 100 on the Viral Video Chart within just one week!
    • Received 1,100+ YouTube comments in only 3 weeks

[1] To ensure the authenticity of the results, the figures represented in this section are based on data excluding all small BMW markets. 

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

This was the first major national Canadian campaign for BMW supporting its M line of vehicles in Canada.

The campaign had a direct impact on BMW Canada’s rank in the global BMW M market. In the previous years when there was no support for BMW M in Canada, as indicated in the Results section above, BMW Canada ranked consistently lower in penetration of M sales than it did in any of the years that the campaign was active. Additionally, the campaign directly impacted BMW Canada’s M sales targets. When the campaign was not in market, sales targets were not met. However, during the years that M was supported through the campaign, sales targets were surpassed.

With the M4 launch in July 2014 one can see the impact that the adverting has had on its consumers. Engagement rates have already reached higher than expected results, and sales are projected to continue to increase as the year carries on. 

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

To date since 2011, the total combined media and production spending level is $4.1 Million. This is very conservative by any comparable standards for a national sustained campaign, especially when compared to the combined sales revenue of $263.5 Million that was generated.



There was no unusual price discounting during the campaign.

Distribution Changes:

Generally, BMW introduces and removes M model vehicles year after year, which has an impact on distribution. 

Unusual Promotional Activity:

BMW M promotional and event activity maintained the same level as in previous years.  

Other Potential Causes: