BMW’s new 3 Series Touring (a station wagon version of its 3 Series sedan, available with 4 wheel drive) was launched as a credible alternative to the Audi A4 Avant Quattro and Subaru Outback, using a combination of striking creative execution and an in-house targeting and profiling modelling tool.
The launch strategy had two main tenets: a data-driven approach to targeting and a creative execution that could illustrate the ‘no compromise’ approach of a sports station wagon with xDrive (BMW’s advanced 4 wheel drive system).
The availability of the 4 wheel drive version coupled with BMW’s legendary driveability was the focus for the creative element of the campaign, clearly articulating that the new 3 Series Touring was a car that had two roles: family load-lugger and sporting driver’s car. Designed for race enthusiasts who wanted to customise their own cars, it was also a bespoke production model, made to order only.
Strategic insight showed that customers don’t always choose their next new car in isolation; the second car in their garage had a strong bearing on what their first car was. Customers look for a balance in what the cars in their garage can do, so the strategy was named “the Perfect Balance”.
But how do you sell a car the public can't see? The answer was a New Zealand first. Sell the car online only.
The idea was simple, but audacious. Give the consumers a blank canvas – basically the production vehicle's shell without any of the frills like air-con, a stereo or even a paint job – and then empower them to create their own version of the car online, with all changes made and seen in real time. Their dream car could then be shared with their friends, or ordered by simply clicking their mouse.
Along the way the campaign objective of selling 9 new cars was smashed, selling 5 times more cars than the target directly attributable to the DM activity. In total there were 61 sales, with a sales value of over $4,800,000 which achieved a very impressive ROI (based on new vehicle margin).