BMW Canada brings a new perspective to its M brand

Who: BMW Canada, with Performance Art for strategy and creative, Richmond Day, and Media Experts for media.

What: “We Are M,” a campaign promoting the 50th anniversary of the automaker’s performance-oriented sub-brand, M.

When & Where: The campaign launched last month and runs through Aug. 20 across out-of-home and online video on BMW Canada’s owned and operated channels.

Why: The campaign is celebrating a half-century of the M sub-brand, but is also intended to introduce the new BMW M4 CSL as well as its first all-electric vehicle, the i4 M50.

Canada is one of largest markets in the world for the “M” sub-brand, said director of BMW brand management Andrew Scott. With 1,771 cars sold, it accounted for 21% of the company’s second quarter sales. That’s up from 1,097 M cars sold in the corresponding year-earlier period.

The M brand has a predominantly male target audience that is mostly centred in Ontario, Quebec and BC, and has an appreciation for performance, and loves powerful engines and the joy of driving, said Scott.

How: The campaign is being led by a forced-perspective video billboard at Yonge-Dundas square that appears to show the BMW M4 CSL and the i4 M50 coming out of the screen. Forced perspective boards have grown in popularity in international markets like New York, London and Seoul, and are slowly beginning to make inroads in Canada (Canadian Tire claimed to be the first marketer to use the tactic in a campaign late last year).

“Innovation, advancements in technology and digitalization are key components that support the progression of our products and the brand, and our overall brand behaviour,” said Scott. “The forced perspective billboard is well suited to our drive for innovation and performance. As the kick-off tactic for our 50 Years of M celebration, it’s new, bold, eye-catching, and makes a big impression.”

The billboard is being accompanied by a two-minute film called “The Thrill” that showcases the M brand’s performance history through a blend of historic race footage and footage of the new M4 CSL being put through its paces. “What’s your next move now that you’ve proven everything, to everyone?” asks the narrator, as the spot reveals that the new M4 is being driven by 83-year-old German racing legend Jochen Neerpasch, who founded the M division. In answer to the narrator’s question, Neerpasch responds “You start all over again.”

And we quote: “What makes BMW M a trailblazer is the engineers’ passion for combining authentic motorsport functionality with exclusive and sporty aesthetics,” said Scott. “The products are just as unique as the brand. Inspired by motorsport, the exclusively outfitted BMW M models easily fulfil the highest demands for agility, dynamics and power.”

Chris Powell