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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