Adventures in Marketing: BMW Gets Awkward in a Hurry

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
adventures in marketing bmw gets awkward in a hurry

Far be it for us to don the cloak of an uptight, finger-wagging, very online scold. That’s the job of other outlets, at least when their staff finish fantasizing about authoritarian purges on social media.

With that in mind, BMW’s electrified “i” sub-brand earns a measure of understanding from us that it might not receive from others. Still… this is truly a ham-fisted attempt at combining an important social message with product marketing.

The above tweet is presented as a screenshot for obvious reasons.

You can see what BMW’s i division was thinking. The message stands up on its own, but grows confused and cringe-inducing when paired with the almost-defunct i8. Yes, by all means do make an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, thus flattening the so-called curve that, when too steep, overwhelms intensive care units and leads doctors to abandon patients who might otherwise have been saved.

And it’s apparently a good idea to associate that deadly curve, the cause of so much heartbreak in Italy right now, with the brand’s i8 coupe (*massive wink and nod to the car’s enviable road-holding abilities*). Eek! Sports cars are supposed to be associated with being young and sexy and spontaneous and very, very much alive, not images of a beloved grandparent dying alone in a corner of the ICU while the family huddles pensively outside the hospital’s front doors.

This is like Jim Hackett throwing a 50th anniversary BBQ for the Pinto in Dearborn this September — after handing out flyers advertising a “big Blue Oval blast,” complete with fireworks. Yup, Bimmer goofed on this one.

It’s worth noting that the COVID-19-related production shutdowns sweeping Europe and North America impact the i8 very little. The model was already scheduled to cease production in a matter of days.

[Image: BMW; screenshot via Twitter]

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  • SCE to AUX I charge at home 99% of the time, on a Level 2 charger I installed myself in 2012 for my Leaf. My house is 1967, 150-Amp service, gas dryer and furnace; everything else is electric with no problems. I switched from gas HW to electric HW last year, when my 18-year-old tank finally failed.I charge at a for-pay station maybe a couple times a year.I don't travel more than an hour each way in my Ioniq 1 EV, so I don't deal much with public chargers. Despite a big electric rate increase this year, my car remains ridiculously cheap to operate.
  • ToolGuy 38:25 to 45:40 -- Let's all wait around for the stupid ugly helicopter. 😉The wheels and tires are cool, as in a) carbon fiber is a structural element not decoration and b) they have some sidewall.Also like the automatic fuel adjustment (gasoline vs. ethanol).(Anyone know why it's more powerful on E85? Huh? Huh?)
  • Ja-GTI So, seems like you have to own a house before you can own a BEV.
  • Kwik_Shift Good thing for fossil fuels to keep the EVs going.
  • Carlson Fan Meh, never cared for this car because I was never a big fan of the Gen 1 Camaro. The Gen 1 Firebird looked better inside and out and you could get it with the 400.The Gen 2 for my eyes was peak Camaro as far as styling w/those sexy split bumpers! They should have modeled the 6th Gen after that.