By on August 22, 2018

You aren’t going to see a lot of televised commercials for the BMW M2 Competition, as it’s an enthusiast car of the highest magnitude. A thirty-second spot in the middle of a popular sitcom doesn’t provide adequate time to run through a laundry list of performance specs for car nerds, and the blanketed marketing approach wouldn’t really be cost-effective, anyway. BMW needs a surgical strike, something viral that can be passed around the internet between the sort of people that actually might consider owning an M2.

That’s what makes its new marketing campaign for the model so good. Outside of offering the most fun you can have inside a car while wearing pants, the M2 isn’t setting any automotive records. It is, however, taking a stab at world records set by humans. Earlier this month, the automaker hooked up a laser to the front of the vehicle to see how many balloons it could pop in a single minute. A week later, it released another video in which it attempted to cut down 116 straw poles with a samurai sword.

We don’t need to tell you that attaching lasers and swords to a car’s exterior is very awesome. And it’s that feeling — like the whole ad campaign was dreamed up by an eight-year-old — that makes for an appealing gimmick. 


The over-produced nature of these video clips makes it obvious that BMW had no intention of actually using the M2 to break these human-set records. The cars fly around a needlessly compacted track littered with targets, mandating powerslides. Then they roar down a straight bit as the audio isolates the sexiest part of the exhaust note.

It’s all cleverly edited and aided by a hard-hitting electronic soundtrack that makes you wish those poles being cut in half with a sword were henchmen in a 90-minute action movie. It’s also incredibly dumb when you stop to think about it, because the record attempt is meaningless when the car could have been sent down the straightaway to demolish the target objective ten times over. Also, since these benchmarks were set by humans, the car has a ridiculous advantage.

That’s really the only chink in the marketing’s armor. Had Bavarian Motor Works winked at the audience and acknowledged it knew the premise was a little goofy, things would have been perfect. If BMW has a fault, it’s taking itself too seriously, and that weak point was laid bare when Uwe Dreher, head of brand communications explained the setup.

“The BMW M2 Competition showcases BMW M genes in their purest form,” Dreher said. “It is an exceptional car with outstanding dynamic performance, presence and handling. With our digital campaign, we capture the heart of our target audience right where they live and inform themselves: in social media. We provide the BMW M2 Competition with the perfect stage to demonstrate its qualities in impressive style.”

Uwe sounds like he’s never told, or maybe even heard, a joke in his life. That’s a shame, because it kind of outs BMW as not realizing what they had here — a stunning visual spectacle underpinned by a bit of surreal comedy. It doesn’t make it unimpressive or less funny, it’s just now funny at BMW’s expense.

Still, it’s a slick set of ads featuring some very slick driving that will definitely remind those interested in the 405-horsepower coupe that it is more than capable of offering a good time.

[Image: BMW]

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