Socially Irresponsible Marketing — BMW’s new commercial stoops low.

I just saw a new BMW commercial that is, in my opinion, the epitome of irresponsible marketing. The commercial starts as a couple of depressed-looking business men wearily pedal their bicycles up hill on a gray, rainy morning. The camera then cuts to an equally depressed business man riding a dreary public bus. Jump cut to a shot of a sign from a European petrol station displaying high prices. Then, Mr. Voice Over Guy announces that “Where we come from, high fuel prices are nothing new.” Just then, a shiny new BMW passes the bikers and the bus rider who follow the car with their longing eyes while Mr. Voice Over Guy brags about the number of fuel efficient vehicles that BMW produces.

So how is this socially irresponsible? As the debate rages about energy independence and we race towards peak oil, to paint public transportation and bicycling in such a negative light is despicable. BMW could have made the same point by showing other drivers in giant SUV’s lining up at gas stations and emptying their wallets. But no, instead BMW chose to attempt to stigmatize transportation options that actually make a positive difference in our world. That, my friends, is socially irresponsible. I wish I could afford a BMW just so I could intentionally not buy one!

If you’ve seen this commercial, let me know what you think. If you haven’t seen it and you still have an opinion, let me now that, too. Am I off base?

*********** Update ***********

In response to all those who have argued that BMW, and other corporations, are not concerned and should not have to be concerned with social responsibility in marketing, I wanted to share what I just read on BMW’s corporate website:

“The BMW Group sets new standards in the automotive industry. As an international company, we here at the BMW Group feel socially and ecologically responsible for everything we do, everywhere in the world.”

This information, along with some info on some really good and responsible things that BMW is doing can be found by clicking here and then choosing “Responsibility”.

It is not my intention to beat up on BMW.  If it has seemed that way, that is my fault.  However, I stand by my severe disapproval of the marketing found in the commercial in question. I do hope that they continue to try to improve on their commitment to social responsibility, especially in their marketing activities. 

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44 comments so far

  1. Lauren on

    I looked around the net for the commercial and couldn’t find it. These dinosaurs are fighting extinction I guess, but demonizing alternative transportation methods at this crucial time is incredibly irresponsible.

    Most people could stand more time interacting with their environments (on a bus, on a bike) and less time compartmentalizing themselves. That’s not even counting the obvious problems that come from big automobiles with a single passenger.

    Come to think of it, any time they spend hocking gas-powered vehicles instead of at least looking for alternatives is irresponsible.

  2. Will Boyd on

    Lauren,
    I couldn’t find the video either. I think because it is pretty new. The only thing I found was a description of the commercial here http://www.autoobserver.com/2008/06/with-new-ad-even-bmw-hops-on-fuel-economy-bandwagon.html . Hopefully, the video will be on the web soon and I can link to it here.

    I think you are right. I’m a cyclist and you certainly become a lot more connected with your world when you aren’t surrounded by steel and plastic.

    Thanks for the comment.

  3. Lorinda on

    I actually saw this commercial and my thoughts went exactly the way yours did. Irresponsible at best, and unforgiveable. And advertizing 30 mpg highway as if it were fabulous. Oooo, you’re getting 3 more miles per gallon than an econmy car did in 1979. Great progress there, BMW.

    I’m guessing that they’ve already pulled the ad, as well they should.

  4. tsfiles on

    I really love when people (usually liberals) attach the word “socially” to give a concept it’s lacking importance.

    “Socially irresponsible marketing” — as opposed to anti-socially irresponsible marketing? Please put it to rest.

  5. Will Boyd on

    Thanks for the comment tsfiles,
    The only response that I have to your comment is that I won’t “put it to rest” when it comes to social responsibility in marketing. I appreciate your feedback.

  6. msk08 on

    I bet half of BMW’s marketing team uses public transportation to get to work. However, their job is to sell cars and the option is always open to just ignore the commercial. Besides, I don’t think the ad is trying to draw people off of public transportation per se–it seems to be geared towards those who are already considering buying a more fuel efficient car. And that’s not an entirely irresponsible message.

  7. Will Boyd on

    Thank you for the comment, msk08.
    That’s an interesting possibility you point out about BMW’s marketing team. As far as the intent of the ad, I understand your point that the ad is not geared toward drawing people off of public transit. I appreciate anyone moving into a more fuel efficient vehicle. I still believe, though, that the more responsible message would have been to position BMW against its real competitors like luxury SUV’s instead of stigmatizing public transit and cycling–which is not a real competitor to BMW.

  8. psych1610 on

    I saw that commercial as well, and to be honest, the thoughts you had never crossed my mind.

    Looking back on it, it seems you’re right. I’m not sure if they’re dumping on public transportation or just glorifying their overpriced cars (or both at the same time) but it seems reminiscent of other ad campaigns that were not necessarily putting down alternative means of transportation, but just selling their own cars.

    Without the bit at the end the spot could just have been about how comfortable a BMW is compared to public transportation or the bike.

    Reminds me of the ads major oil retailers have begun putting out touting how much money they pour into saving the environment when the truth is it’s virtually nothing, or just enough to continue to expand their dominance. All too sad if you ask me.

  9. robertpaul on

    Sadly yes you are absolutely right. A year ago car manufacturers including BMW were saying the new technology was not possible for 10 years. Suddenly new low emission cars are comming out of the woodwork. This is not the first bad advert and now people know not only are the manufacturers like BMW liars they are also trying to belittle all the work and investment that public money has funded to make better and cleaner public transport. Power assisted bicycles are improving and new inventions will help to improve other forms of clean transport.
    It’s not really a problem because the people who can afford a BMW will still go out and buy one mostly because it is their ego dream and social standing image thing. The rest of us who really care about doing something about this world and care less about ego image, will take the train, the bus and the tram. Why? Because they are modern, clean, comfortable, quick, frequent and cheap. Yes there are some problems with travelling at night and hooliganism and as public transport grows in demand those problems will be overcome.

    I live and work in Geneva which has possibly the most modern public transport system in the world. Also I visit a client in the suffolk town of Hadleigh in the UK. There I mostly use the busses, if I am late an occaisional taxi, to get to the nearest towns with rail links. Certainly the Suffolk busses are not inspiring. They are old, dirty, noisy and crowded also not that frequent. I regret to say that there is a truth in the BMW advert. Live anywhere in the countryside and you will know it.

    Because of our social patterns of living cars are important and public transport does have its limitations. I have been searching for a way to get from my home in the city to one of my work places without a car. I have the option of two busses that only cover half the journey after that there is nothing not even a taxi. For those that have no option but to live in the countryside that is a delema and a car is a necessity.

    This is a good subject for debate and I am sure you will have many replies. Well done.

  10. totaltransformation on

    “As the debate rages about energy independence and we race towards peak oil, to paint public transportation and bicycling in such a negative light is despicable.”

    I wouldn’t be too worried. Who can afford the things anyway? Unless they live in NYC or Washington D.C. the kind of people who can afford a BMW don’t take public transportation. At least not any public transportation I’ve been on.

  11. johnhaydon on

    Will,

    Great comment. The real issue is that our culture places such a high value on capitalism – and our mass media fuels our love for money and things. The mass media also fuels our unconscious fears. For example, the guys portrayed on the bikes and buses seem weak and less “manly”, while the guys in the BMW are happy and powerful.

    The bottom line is the bottom line. There’s more money in selling cars than protecting the environment. The good news is that there are people like you creating dialogue that can reverse public perceptions and values.

    John

  12. sittingpugs on

    I haven’t seen this commercial, but based on your description, Will, I’m wondering a couple of things:

    What else struck you about the bicyclists and the bus riders aside from appearing “depressed” and being “businessmen” ?

    How old were they? mid-20s through early 40s?
    Ethnicity? Since you said “business men,” I’m assuming they were wearing suits and probably didn’t look too comfortable on the bikes? Did the bicyclists wear helmets?

    Who else was on the bus that you could see or that you had time to notice? Obviously, any BMW commercially is going to target its primary audience, which is arguably more about salary and socio-economic status than skin color or age. But, might there also be other subtle messages when considering exactly who are on the bikes and the bus?

    Is the driver of the BMW similar in appearance to the other people in the ad? Is the driver by himself (I’m assuming it’s a man) or is there a passenger?

    I think your idea about the BMW vs. the needlessly big SUV would’ve made more sense–or conveyed a less off-putting message. Unfortunately, perhaps BMW isn’t just denouncing ridiculously big cars–BMW is sneering at the men (people) who would choose anything over BMW. It’s likely that in the initial versions of this commercial, the BMW vs. really big car was suggested…as well as the BMW vs. SUV, bicyclists, smart cars, buses, walking, and every other mode of transport that isn’t a BMW.

  13. guinness74 on

    Hey Will, I saw the ad the other day (remarkably, since TiVo helps me avoid most of that tripe) and I was struck by that very sentiment because I ride my bike to work. More the worse, I saw a driver later in the day behaving exactly like the car in the ad…zipping around in his Nissan Z without a care in (or for) the world.

    I think msk08 is on the right track though. I think maybe BMW is trying to draw people away from less fuel-efficient vehicles by telling them that there is an alternative to Hummer that is not pedaling uphill in a suit. I think it was poorly communicated, but the message can be there.

    And, right on Lorinda, 30 mpg is a ridiculous thing to advertise. If you’re not getting at least 30 mpg in your car now, you should be one of us pedaling uphill in a suit.

  14. Will Boyd on

    You all have made some really good points and given me a lot to think about. Thank you all for the good conversation.

  15. […] For those that have seen it and want to discuss the ad per se, there’s a discussion at Will Boyd’s blog. FYI Nobody over there could locate it online […]

  16. […] at the gym yesterday following my bike commute to work, I had the pleasure of watching BMW’s new commercial. I couldn’t hear the announcer because the volume was turned off, but I could easily see what […]

  17. pobept on

    And just who war you mad at?
    The Germans for developing and building a high quality automobile?
    Business in general for wanting to sell their products and make a profit?

    The truth of the matter is you and I can walk, bicycle, drive or use public transportation and ‘most’ people just want care how we get from home to work!

    It’s advertisement, nothing more or less, get over it!

  18. bibliosk8 on

    I’ve seen the commercial. I think I saw it one evening last week after I’d ridden my bike to and from work (which I do 3 times a week). However, when I’m riding — even in the 95 degree F Texas heat — I feel great and totally enjoy it.

    So I figured the commercial was just another marketing message directed at stupid people like mr. tsfiles.

  19. Will Boyd on

    pobept,
    I’m not mad at business for wanting to make a proft. In fact, in order for marketing to be sustainable and responsible, it has to be effective. What I take offense at is when marketers create social stigma in order to sell products. Take for example the fashion industry creating stigma’s around body image. How many teenage girls should have eating disorders so that clothing companies should make a profit? That may seem more extreme than the BMW example, and it probably is. But, in light of discussions about peak oil and environmental degradation, creating a negative stigma around cycling and public transit is socially irresponsible marketing.

  20. Green Advocate on

    I agree that it may be irresponsible to show non-BMW drivers as weak or less than manly, but say you’re the CEO of BMW what do you do? The American economy is sagging, gas prices are soaring, sales are down, and you’re trying to sell a luxury product- sounds like an uphill battle to me.

    He (the CEO) has to make his product continue to look good and viable in a situation where the market is set against him. He has other options of course he could always stop producing cars? Accept fewer sales? Get his target market to ignore the status quo? Or he could try to come up with a way to show his product is still viable despite current economics?

    Personally I’m with their decision to make an ad that shows their product is still viable. Now whether the ad would have been more effective if those in the ad were happy and smiling despite their non-use of a BMW is another discussion.

    I guess the other question I have, is would we all feel the same were the ad for a new Toyota hybrid that gets 150 MPG instead? – Is that still socially irresponsible?

    I guess, I assume that we should all be intelligent enough to know that BMW is a business and needs to sell cars to survive, and that one is not necessarily less happy just for riding a bike or public transportation to work.

    This being said, I rode my bike to work today and it felt great – I love it and don’t really think I’d be happier in a BMW.

  21. Will Boyd on

    Thanks for the comment, Green Advocate.

    In response, the ad didn’t, in my opinion, make anyone look weak or less than manly, what it did do was attempt to stigmatize public transit and cycling as activities that are socially not acceptable.

    I have never argued that BMW shouldn’t try to make a profit. And I completely understand that they are marketing luxury. What I am saying is that the marketing tactics used in this commercial are irresponsible.

    You asked what I would do if I were the CEO. Well, I would do one of two things. I would either have the marketing department craft campaigns that are more relevant to my product, more honest in their representation (30 mpg is not fuel efficient by anyone’s standards except the auto makers), and that did not stigmatize positive alternatives. One way to do this would be to craft a campaign like the one I mentioned as an alternative in the post. That campaign could even retain the exact same language. The only difference would be that the imagery used could include SUV owners instead of cyclists and public transit riders. To me, the SUV owner is the person that BMW would like to get to purchase a new BMW. In this case, the BMW would be more fuel efficient.

    Option 2 would be to build more fuel efficient vehicles. All of that German engineering could go a long way toward making all vehicles more fuel efficient. That would be responsible.

    That being said, part of the purpose of this blog is to explore the positive and negative effects that advertising and marketing has on people. Sure, people should be smart enough to make decisions for themselves, but the power of advertising is something that touches us all. When marketing has a negative impact on people that can be avoided, it is irresponsible marketing. That holds true whether it is a cigarette manufacturer targeting kids, a fashion advertiser running ads that encourage eating disorders, or a luxury car manufacturer that casts alternative transportation in a negative light.

  22. Bill Briggs on

    I saw the commercial and it did not impress me much one way or the other.

    I thought your objections, however, were silly.

    A short, level commute, a bicycle is fine in good weather. Buses and trains are fine if they are available.

    People do not need slick BMW commercials to explain the disadvantages of bicycles and buses. Everyone understands these things. I doubt if anyone riding efficient transportation is going to see the commercial and as a result run out and buy a luxury car.

  23. Will Boyd on

    Bill,
    thanks for stopping by

  24. nearlynormalized on

    If we did it right–BMW would be out of business. We know better.

  25. feigningenius on

    This commercial isn’t socially irresponsible. If people are stupid enough to think that driving a BMW compared to riding a bike or bus is better for the environment, then they are morons. All BMW is trying to convey is that you can still drive a luxury car and get good gas mileage. Stop freaking out about everything and go ride your bike around the block. I’m sure it’ll make you feel all high and mighty when I drive by you in my M3.

  26. Will Boyd on

    I disagree feigningenius, there are no images, sounds, ideas, etc. in any commercials on the scale of a BMW that are not thought out, planned and intentional. So, to say that all that BMW is trying to do is convey that you can still drive a luxury car and get good gas mileage is a bit simplistic.

  27. writingcanada on

    Have you ever taken the bus? How many thrilled faces do you see there in the morning? Same with people riding their bikes. This commercial just reflects the reality of public transpo, and bicycle riding… in fact, it is the going to work attitude. Even people in BMWs sit grumpy in rush hour. But if that’s a brand new BMW I’m sitting on the freeway in going 3 miles an hour, I’ll be pretty stoked until the novelty wears off.
    Socially irresponsible? Nah. Reflection of reality? For the most part.

  28. starkravingmadeleine on

    Hmmmm… Very interesting quandary.

    As I was reading your description of the ad, it created a very strong visual image in my mind, the contrast of the dreary bus/cycle and the lovely luxury of the BMW was extremely effective. The aesthetics of the ad sound fantastic.

    That said, the ad would not have been targeted to people who were faced with riding the bus, so it doesn’t make much sense to use that. It does make more sense to show something that the targeted consumer may be considering instead. You are very correct in that.

    However, I still prefer the visual contrast of the actual ad.

    As far as social responsibility? Nope. A car company is not irresponsible by showing public transport in a negative light. Hell, I remember the dreary, miserable bus rides to work, or worse, the long dreary walks when I missed the bus. It is dreary. I think that some of us have gone too far with expecting everything to be portrayed as rainbows and gumdrops when it isn’t.

    The social responsibility lies in the push to create an energy efficient car, not pretend that it isn’t much more appealing to drive in a luxury sport car than ride the bus with smelly people.

    I’m a big fan of personal responsibility though and to me, the focus should be on people making responsible decisions regardless of advertising. But who am I to talk, I rant about how Sex and the City is making women act like idiots.

    I wish we could all learn some moderation instead of extremes, because while I don’t need to drive a car every day all over the city, I do really love a car that handles well and is designed like a work of art. But, there’s always the Tesla (www.teslamotors.com) but I’m going to have to make a lot more money for that.

  29. Will Boyd on

    Thanks Lauren,

    If a marketer is not being irresponsible by creating negative stigma around a positive act, are they responsible for anything? If not, marketers who cast a negative light on healthy body images aren’t being irresponsible either. While personal responsibility is important, this blog is about responsibility in marketing not transportation methods.

  30. robertpaul on

    Will

    With over 30 years of managing a group of companies it is not so difficult to see the BMW view point and motive strategy.

    Put yourself in the shoes of the CEO of BMW, what are your primary objectives? Being a white knight or selling your cars and keeping a focus on long term strategies?

    It is well known in the marketing and advertising world that to sell a product first sell the image.

    Some of the BMW images are style, ruthless power and success.

    Who do women and particularly beautiful women prefer? Success images with a touch of ruthlessness or nerds on bikes and dirty busses?

    If you have responsibility for changing attitudes to buy your product, what counts most? Driving your investors crazy with limp adverts or offering something they know touches the right buttons for the right people as far as they are concerned. If you have any doubts about the demand for BMWs just take a trip around Europe

    There is something else that has to be taken into account. The CEO may have strong green issue values himself. If he wants to keep his job he better leave them safely at home so they cannot do his career any harm. The last time I looked the average CEO life span was about 3 years and declining. There are many more where he came from just waiting for the chance to step into his shoes.

    I am sure the BMW strategy is to give the world an ego image and then buy green credits to compensate.

    I am also sure that their strategy is to buy time until they can bring to the market big luxury cars that are super green. This is essentially the hydrogen car, which is possible today but at the BMW concept level, is realistically a few years away but they could equally pull a sudden surprise. Nonetheless they have to be careful not to alienate their existing car stocks and production investment and certainly their coveted image. To do that they need to maintain sales of existing cars, protect their investment and their investors. Timing is critical.

    As the BMW CEO, which would you prefer an insensitive advert that works for those it is aimed at or putting a few thousand more workers out of a job and possibly even including yourself?

    This is a worthwhile debate that the anti capitalism brigade adore. If it has reached the eyes and ears of the BMW management such comments only work in encouraging them to think more carefully about green semantics so long as they maintain profitability also if it keep their highly trained workforce happy, motivated and in work. That’s what capital investment is all about so BMW have no doubt on that score. The anti capitalism argument rather fell flat for many reasons. One of which is the tremendous and wide spreading employee care programs serious companies offer to all their staff from the cleaners up.

    There have been some interesting comments, which reflect the complexity of issues when it comes to wise investment into very costly advertising. These people usually do know their market and what their objectives are with a very clear focus. It really would be worth going to the fountain head and asking the CEO his advertising future and long term plans. This man is not God just another human being doing his best. This Weblog debate will certainly give you the credentials to knock on his door.

    I await the his comments with anticipation.

  31. laboratorian on

    The only people BMW is responsible to are its shareholders. Full stop.

    If you’d like BMW to stop “socially irresponsible” marketing, that’s fine. I’m sure Ford, GM, Toyota, Cadillac, and BMW’s other competitors will be happy to have BMW stop while they remain unaffected.

    If you think advertising should be socially responsible, and you believe it is a political priority, contact your representatives and work on ballot initiatives. Don’t count on the good graces of a corporation, because if you do, you’re already disenfranchised.

  32. Will Boyd on

    laboratorian,

    I do think BMW, as well every other corporation, should market their products responsibly. I don’t believe, however, that it is a political priority or that the example I am speaking of should be against the law. I use the word “resonsible” because I believe corporations are responsible to us, the consumers, because they inhabit this world just as we do. In my mind, the marketplace is a lot like an ecosystem. In an ecosystem, competition exists, but it is certainly not the same flavor that we have with hyper-capitalism. For an ecosystem to be healthy, all organisms work together to benefit each other in some way–even predators and prey.

  33. Will Boyd on

    robertpaul,

    First, I would like to thank you for your vote of confidence on my being able to reach that high with this little blog :).

    You bring up some good points, particularly that marketing and advertising must be effective and that responsibility to employees, investors, etc. is also a matter of social responsibility.

    In a lot of my work, which is not displayed on this small post, I have been trying to deal with what I believe to be an imminent change on the horizon for marketers and advertisers regarding what will be effective in the future. I believe, and I could very well be wrong, that a fundamental change in the way media operates will change the marketing playing field for the better. When people can skip ads and avoid traditional marketers all together, which looks like the way thing are heading, marketers will no longer have the opportunity to manipulate as they have for so long (see Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders). Thus, a lot of my arguments for social responsibility are from the standpoint that future marketing will rely on this responsibility to remain relevant and effective.

  34. sittingpugs on

    Curious. What channel did this commercial air when you saw it? What show? What time of day? Were other car commercials shown in the interval of the same program?

  35. Will Boyd on

    Honestly, I watch very little TV. I only watch at my folks’ house. I know that it was in the evening and on the History Channel. I’ve seen about three times now on the same channel. But, honestly, that’s about all my family watches :). I don’t remember any other car commercials, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t any. This just stood out to me as a good example to talk about.

  36. Will Boyd on

    In the spirit of conversation, I have sent a message to BMW via their contact channel on the link I list in the update. The message is an invitation to BMW to join the conversation. If they choose to genuinely join the conversation, it will be a positive step, no matter the outcome.

  37. robertpaul on

    Will

    “When people can skip ads and avoid traditional marketers all together, which looks like the way thing are heading, marketers will no longer have the opportunity to manipulate as they have for so long (see Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders).”

    Remember that there is one simple fact: if you do not tell people what you have for sale no one will buy it. In this crazy world we do not know what will happen tomorrow therefore people are living more for today. Thus we need to know what is available. That is why the internet and TV is so powerful. They are the essential conduits that serves the dissemination of information very quickly.

    We all have the experience that if we do not take the opportunity when it is presented or we have the resources, do not expect them to be there tomorrow. That situation is increasing and will likely continue to do so.

    “Thus, a lot of my arguments for social responsibility are from the standpoint that future marketing will rely on this.”

    Yes, and the question will always remain: responsible, relevant and effective to whom and in whose opinion, which brings us full circle and back to your original comment.

    Thus manufacturers or suppliers will always be in search of: What are the prevailing and future market trends? Who is your target market sector? What do they really want and what is really important to them? How to make it and at what cost? How to market and advertise it?

    AS you will know the answers to these questions tell the BMW CEO who their clients are and what they want. Using some sophisticated psychological models BMW make some careful conclusions and assumptions that are aimed at fulfilling the needs of their target market.

    The really successful companies are the market leaders who have spotted in advance what their future clients will wantand when . Also what stimuli they respond to. For the past 40 years BMW has been good at this. As far as BMW is concerned, from this point to roll off is a long road with massive investment. That train cannot easily be diverted after a certain pointwithout complete derailing. Thus strategy commitment dictates that if the market or social opinion suddenly wrong foots your position at a critical point, the pressure is then on the marketers to do whatever it takes to level the playing field again.

    Therefore from someone’s point of view there will always be from time to time what may be judged to be irresponsible marketing .

  38. Will Boyd on

    robertpaul,

    You make some really good points. I totally agree that any company has to tell people what they are selling. I hope that organizations get more creative and tell their stories in ways that add value to the live of the people they are trying to reach instead of trying to interrupt their lives a la a 30 second commercial. The vast majority of media I personally consume is non-traditional “new media”–blogs, podcasts, etc. Some of that media is marketing material. Oddly enough, I seek that marketing material out because it is relevant to me, it is either entertaining or adds value to my life in some other way, and I genuinely want to know about the product or service. This, in my opinion is the direction that marketing will be heading. The mass marketing model where a company just wants to put its message in front of as many “eyeballs” as possible is disappearing. What is emerging is a model in which companies and organizations must engage customers and stakeholders who will have the opportunity to disengage at any moment. It is in the two-way nature of new media that will not allow companies to continue traditional, manipulative marketing.

    Is that day fully here? No. Television still reigns supreme. However, we are only one generation away from a group of people who won’t be able to imagine a one-way stream of information. This will be a powerful shift. If corporations don’t begin preparing for this, it will go badly for them.

    As far as who determines responsibility, that will probably always be up for discussion. I’m not sure I have a good answer. Obviously there are many aspects to responsibility, and social responsibility is probably the foggiest. I think, right now, there is no yardstick. However, I believe that in the near future, social responsibility will be judged by an army of informed and hyper-connected consumers who will determine how relevant and responsible every corporation and organization is.

  39. sittingpugs on

    Indeed, it is a good example of televised advertising and what people see when they watch (or read about) them.

    I was curious about the channel, time of day, and if there were other car commercials because these factors can be illuminating.

    Hmmm History Channel during the evening …at least three times seen…and likely in company of other car ads. What does it say about the History Channel? Overlap in BMW target audience or potential buyer?

  40. Will Boyd on

    sittingpugs,

    Of course, I am not privy to the History Channel’s demographics, but my imagination would tell me that it would be a good audience for BMW. Time of day I saw it would be good as well, as most people would be home from work on both coasts. I definitely think the target of this commercial was working men between 25 and 40 because that is who was portrayed in the advertisement.

  41. sittingpugs on

    Yes! Exactly what was lurking behind the thoughts I was having when asking the specifics of the ad.

    ^&^

  42. robertpaul on

    Will
    I am interested to know more about this new model of marketing and advertising.

    At the moment I do not understand the difference.

    If you are interested please have a look at my website http://www.asr-key.ch and explain how your new model could work.

    If your argument is good perhaps we can do some business.

  43. robertpaul on

    Will

    Although this debate seems to have run out of steam it has taught me a sad truth. I am now an old fogy.

    From a boy I grew up with newspapers and adverts for Bovril on billboards. Then came television but no adverts until commercial television arrived in the UK.

    It seems only about 20 years ago that my companies moved from advanced electric typewriters to the first mass produced office computers. Although unbelievably slow and cumbersome by modern standards they were a step forward. Today we have made a huge quantum leap forward in the information and technology and yes I can find anything in the world that interests me on my computer.

    Yes, the penny has dropped, perhaps that is what taking a holiday does. The marketing model you are proposing is that we the public actually search out the advertising information we are interested in, rather than being bombarded with everything we are not interested about.

    If this is the new responsible advertising paradigm then surely it is fraught with problems, that is particularly if you are an old fogy, which I believe now starts from about the age of 50.

    All marketers know the importance of the 50s to 80 year olds who have a considerable purchasing power at their control.

    A very large proportion of this group are less familiar with computers and search engines than street savvy kids who learn these skills at school and understand the availability of all information at the touch of a key pad.. Therefore is it not the case that this new advertising paradigm is at risk of isolating itself from an important market sector.

    So far so good and here is another glitch. If you do not know ‘X’ exists or under what name or format it exists, search engines will not easily find it. I knowthis to be true because I am constantly looking for more information about new technology, which is not yet on the net. Therefore the chances are that you will opt for ‘Y’ which you already know about. Thus the question that comes to mind is how does the manufacturer of the super new invention ‘X’ get their product to the market if they do not advertise in the traditional way.

    I’ll give you an example that is pertinent to my current work. I receive reams of emails telling me about the latest problems in hospitals around the world so that I can find the latest research notes on new medical developments. I subscribe to several organisations to get this vital and ground breaking information. I realise this is a completely different and a specific field, nonetheless it is still advertising with a capital ‘A’. I believe I would rather wade through irrelevant junk to get what I want rather than miss something important because I did not know that a scientist in a Japanese or German or American University has just made a breakthrough in a specific area important to my own work.

    Concerning wading through irrelevant junk, The human brain is wired up to deal with and sort the relevant and irrelevant. Everything we humans see, hear, taste, feel or smell falls into three groups. These groups are relevant to our existing and unique beliefs, values and environments. The groups are: of no interest at all therefore we delete the information in its entirety. – Of slight interest in which case we retain partial information that can be difficult to recall. Finally, Of great interest in which case we are capable of recalling an amazing amount of the original information with ease.

    While your concerns about irresponsible advertising are noteworthy I fear that a degree of over protectionism can result from this point of view, which then can open the doors God forbid ‘POLITICAL CORRECTNESS’.

    The result is unofficial censoring of information and that is BIG BROTHER game set and match by the back door.

    So please trust people to know what is relevant or irrelevant to them. Do not take away any more of our freedom of choice and personal responsibility. The beauty of our world is that it is not perfect and we have likes and dislikes. We have different points of view because we have different beliefs and different values. Smother those things and you take away the reason for life and personal growth.

  44. Rich on

    I have seen the commercial more times than I care to mention. I know this topic ran out of steam several months back but wanted to comment. My take on it wasn’t social irresponsibility. What I thought was that we were being told that other countries, ie Germany, have had higher gas prices. Therefore, we shouldn’t have anything to complain about. Look at our citizens, the gas prices are so high they cannot afford the luxury of owning a vehicle. I didn’t exactly take it as a slam to public transportation although I can see how one might arrive at that.


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