Years ago (in the early noughties), BMW made some films. They were great, lavish, statement making films. They had Clive Owen in them. They had freakin’ Madonna in them.
They told you this: BMWs are for driving fast, looking amazing, living dangerously.
Especially if you were an insurance salesman in the home counties.
Looking back, it’s easy to see how the mental picture of the BMW driver was a gregarious, suited, loudmouthed wanker… it was all about the badge, that shiny BMW medal of belonging for Kevin and Justin and the golf club mafia.
Now, BMW are back in the film business. But in a wonderfully different way…
A series of four films based around “The Future of Mobility”; a look to the future where we need to create a sustainable lifestyle for the human race. They’ll all be released this month, and first is up here now…
That guy? That’s Buzz Aldrin. Yes, the second man on the moon. “You get where you wanna go, when you wanna go, with the least fuss… that’s what we need”. Doesn’t sound like the message Kevin & Justin would bandy around the 19th hole.
It’s well worth a watch.
What’s beautiful about the films, and the idea, is that you get a sense of BMW as a group, a movement, an ideology… not because it’s chock-a-block full of BMW people (it isn’t), but because this is the kind of statement they want to make about themselves to the world.
And the thing about an ideology is that it can last forever, and transcend whatever it is you physically make or do as a company in any one era. It’s probably as much of a message internally to BMW as it is externally for us.
In 1975, Theodore Levitt said this of marketers:
“To survive, they themselves will have to plot the obsolescence of what now produces their livelihood”
I guess “The Future of Mobility” feels like a future for BMW too… now let’s see what actions they use to back up the words.