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NINETY EIGHT REGENCY

No joy here from BMW ad switch

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No joy here from BMW ad switch

Automotive News -- April 12, 2010 - 12:01 am ET

When is joy not exactly happiness? When you tweak a sacred marketing campaign.

Last year, BMW brass in Germany decided to use a new global campaign timed around the launch of the new 5 series.

The "Joy" campaign -- superimposed on BMW's longstanding "The Ultimate Driving Machine" tag line -- was rolled out to European and Asian markets ahead of a U.S. launch.

The ad work, won by the Texas agency GSD&M, represented the first time BMW had one agency globally. The ads, which were the most expensive North American brand campaign in BMW history, were meant to add "humanity" to the brand, BMW says.

They went like this:

Joy is why we built this company.

Joy is our inspiration.

It is efficient and dynamic, responsive and responsible.

At BMW, we don't just make cars. We make Joy.

But there wasn't much joy in the United States.

When the ads were rolled out during the Winter Olympics, they caused consternation among fans of the "The Ultimate Driving Machine."

BMW North America marketing boss Jack Pitney "started getting hate mail," says Jim O'Donnell, the boss of BMW in North America. "No one else in the world ever raised an issue with it."

Blogs filled up. Anti-Joy Web sites were started. And when The Wall Street Journal said BMW was abandoning "The Ultimate Driving Machine," the fur started flying.

"We are not abandoning 'The Ultimate Driving Machine,' " O'Donnell said at the recent New York auto show. "The phrase is never missing from the ad. It's worth millions."

So will they stick with Joy?

"Absolutely."

Will they consult BMW owners in the future? We're betting yes.

Read more: http://www.autonews.com/article/20100412/RETAIL03/304129960/-1#ixzz0ktahgsb4

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