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The Ultimate In Tasteful Marketing: BMW + Mad Men

by Gunnar Heinrich ::: img AMC ::: BMW Sponsors Mad Men

READ NY Mag’s recap of season four’s premiere of AMC’s Mad Men.

Logan Hill’s take was as concertedly analytical as what we’ve come to expect from New York‘s coverage of the series that depicts the madness behind the Brylcreem of Madison Avenue in the 60s. In his article, Mr. Hill referenced a line from Andy Warhol which applies nicely to cars and BMW’s ad campaign, in particular. Let’s reintroduce it here:

Warhol once said, “Lock up a department store today, open the door after a hundred years, and you will have a museum of art.” (Lock up an office in 1964, then pop it open on AMC in 2010, and, with a lot of creative license, you’ve got quality TV.)

How true.

BMW, who’s sponsored Mad Men‘s previous season, was presenting sponsor for this season’s premiere. And true to the show’s vintage nature, BMW’s commercials would’ve sated Janus himself – looking past first, then present.

In one of the spots, we see the BMW 5-Series in earlier forms – notably the E28. A BMW rep talks candidly on camera about the elegance of BMW’s past 5ers while we see company footage. Later on, another spot showcases the now familiar current bodystyle F10.

Past und present.

The last ad markets the bread ‘n butter 3er. We see E30 vintage 3-series sedans and then beauty shots of the current lineup while listening to chatter about “performance sedans”. The past and the future play equal parts again in a symphony for your attention (and hopefully dollars).

These spots culminate into great messaging by BMW.

Part of Mad Men‘s wide appeal is that the series reintroduces some of the glamorous aspects of commercialism in post war American society. Any company that associates itself with that classic aspect is making a case for the enduring appeal of its own brand’s identity. When is a bottle of Clorox art? When we see a bottle from the 60s deliberately re-presented.

When is a BMW art? When we see an vintage 5-Series in its former element. Being the Ultimate Driving Machine. This campaign ranks as an important departure from most car advertising which focuses on right now.

After all, to fully and faithfully subscribe to a brand identity like BMW, you have to maintain an appreciation for the past in order to ask buyers to re-invest in the present and the future.

BMW’s underwriting for Mad Men is mad marvelous.

July 26, 2010
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About the Author: Gunnar Heinrich is publisher of Automobiles De Luxe online and is executive producer of the Automobiles De Luxe Television series on PBS member station CPTV.

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