Adventures in Marketing: BMW Says "OK Boomer" to Its Own Flagship Vehicles

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

BMW published a four-minute and change ad a couple weeks ago for the start of the virtual CES 2021 show. Though this would not normally be a subject worth covering, this particular ad seems to indicate BMW believes their own E65 7-Series is for ridiculous out of touch Boomers.

Marketing departments always know what they’re doing, right?

A Story of Generations starts off with a portrayal of a circa 2008 760Li giving a “Get off my lawn!” speech to the upcoming iX crossover, BMW’s connected smart EV of the future. The iX has arrived to replace the 7-Series on a special platform at BMW HQ. The ad follows the two cars’ conversation, with the condescending and youthful iX talking to the out of touch and ancient 2008 760Li, “Hi Grandpa!”

Mocked are the 7-Series’ consumption, lack of connected capability, and generally terrible Boomer characteristics. “How do you even know what a real car is?”

The iX continues, “It’s just impossible to talk to your generation,” expanding the criticism to, I suppose, everything BMW produced circa 2008? What a stupid car, it doesn’t even talk to you in a connected, Alexa-type way! And those screen graphics! Who could ever live with that?

“An immersive experience,” iX says. “Marketing bullshit!” 7-Series replies. Ya got that right.

BMW explains the ad “A firstly superficial bragging and mocking conversation turns into a lesson about development, interdependence and caring.” The first half of that statement is certainly correct. “Future? Recycling yard,” says the iX. BMW really doesn’t want anyone to own the product they made before the iX. Around the middle of the ad, the 7-Series tries to connect to the internet, and a dial-up sound is made because people used dial-up in 2008. An electrical fault ensues because old BMWs have bad electrics, and the iX responds “OMG, did you just die?”

At that point the tone turns toward conciliatory, and the iX wants to learn things from the drunken 7-Series which actually tasted gasoline like a barbarian. She says to the 7 she just denigrated, “You are a true classic.” Clearly, BMW doesn’t believe this. The “lesson” portion of the ad is very short, and limited to about 15 seconds of the 4-minute, 16-second runtime.

At the end, the iX and 7-Series are pictured together on the platform, because they get along now and there’s space for both of them. But there actually isn’t, because the BMW employee in the start of the ad said the 7-Series had to be moved elsewhere.

The ad is too long, too cringeworthy, and sends a big middle finger to owners of older BMWs who might enjoy a car as ancient as 2008. Imagine what BMW must think of their cars from the Nineties and Eighties? The “OK Boomer” message is a poorly chosen one, and the focus on how crap your own flagship vehicle was just a few years ago isn’t the best messaging. After all, BMW was happy to sell you that new 760 in 2008, for a whopping $124,000.

But somehow this ad made it through the various levels of review and approval at BMW New Cars Only LLC. At least the message is out there now: Never buy a used BMW, because not even BMW thinks that’s a good idea.

[Images: BMW]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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  • Conundrum Conundrum on Jan 28, 2021

    The ad has been criticised elsewhere in more dunning terms than even the B&B managed. But then, considering the absolute crap front ends BMW has been producing lately, with the thrusting double piggy snout, oink oink, this piece of mindless crud ad about sums up how lost BMW is. The iX is ugly, the Rogue actually looks better. European sites give the iX about 1 out of 10 on styling, and seem to think BMW has looked so far up its own backside it has reappeared further up and become recursive. Car-wise, their entry level grot is warmed-over tinny MINI on the same platform, then we are offered the 4 series, newly uglified. The i3 EV puddle jumper is still about for reasons known only to BMW such that they managed to unload 25,000 to shoppers in Europe last year on the basis of presumed familiarity alone. The new iX, well who knows, it'll probably sell anyway over there, where the Renault Zoe passed the Tesla 3 in sales in 2020 and which sold 8% fewer in absolute terms, and the VW ID3 is now selling at a faster rate than either of these two, but was only available from mid-year. Dissing their own old BMW product to appeal to whatever the hell-it-is called these days 20 something generation with no money seems like the marketing move of the decade. Ahem. Instead of producing bad PR, they need to hire some designers and stylists with a clue about cohesion of form. Morphing the double kidney grille into Miss Piggy doesn't really seem like a great move. I see far fewer new BMWs on the roads these days, but then crossovers/CUVs/two box vehicles are so common and in such dull colors, maybe there's plenty and I just haven't noticed, or could be bothered to notice, for that matter. As for talking to cars,and them talking back, a ridiculous idea to an old gent who prefers inanimate objects to remain that way, the thought of having a constant Alexa spy worrying about my household supply of toilet paper and flogging off my data and travel habits so other advertisers can sidle up and sell me crap I don't want like campfire-ready double crunch cornflakes or frozen cardboard pizza, I cannot be bothered with new spy "tech". The major reason I bought a car last year that I believed didn't have this stuff, that doesn't phone home 24/7, or had navigation, was to keep my privacy my privacy. Even then, funnily enough, it still has a GPS in there somewhere. It's a Mazda6 turbo cheapo edition for Canada, but it even tells me elevation change as it climbs up the driveway, and has a huge compass on the info screen in case I forgot the sun rises in the east, plus an electric clock of such poor quality that it lost a minute a day until I switched it to GPS time. So there's a gremlin in the works there somewhere anyway. Great. Plugging in my phone for the first time was a revelation -- instead of the usual laggy response Google was right there NOW on Android Auto, panting like a thirsty dawg. Considering I know my way around my rural slow-to-develop province, having practised for over 50 years and possessing an actual memory myself, I haven't bothered connecting the phone again. But then the pandemic hasn't actually been a promoter of long road trips even to visit relatives, either, and talk radio is all I need or desire on short trips. Far more fun discovering how to fool the traction control for max acceleration takeoffs and lively tire howl that reminds me of my youth. If you leave the steering straight ahead, no squeal and traction control. Turn it just a tad off center and goose it, and you can impress small boys and yourself in a yee haw way. That's motoring, not creeping around under surveillance hoping for the best. In fact, with snow tires, goosing it at 25 mph produces a small amount of wheelspin and prodigious thrust to beyond 50 mph before third comes in and continues the fun. The car sort of prods you to be a bit infantile by being quite eager, and I like that. Would I have experienced a better life by spending twice as much on a BMW 3 Series or A4? Doubtful. Not even that much better of an interior if at all, and guess who's number 1 in CR reliability? It isn't BMW.

  • 4onthefloor 4onthefloor on Jan 30, 2021

    Yup. Mazda. My new love. It ain’t perfect, but it’s really good, and that’s enough for me. I’m hoping it doesn’t spy on me, and if I find out it does, I’m not going to be happy. I know some info is required to be stored, but some are worse than others. Ahem Tesla cough.

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  • Rust-MyEnemy Whoa, what the hell is wrong with Jalop1991 and his condescension? It's as if he's employed by Big Plug-In or something."I've seen plenty of your types on the forums....."Dunno what that means, but I'm not dead keen on being regarded as "A type" by a complete stranger"" I'm guessing you've never actually calculated by hand the miles you've driven against the quantity of gas used--which is your actual miles per gallon."Guess again. Why the hell would you even say that? Yes, I worked it out. Fill-to-fill, based on gas station receipts. And it showed me that a Vauxhall Astra PHEV, starting out with a fully charged PHEV battery, in Hybrid mode, on my long (234-mile) daily motorway daily commute, never, over several months, ever matched or beat the economy of the regular hybrid Honda Civic that I ran for a similar amount of time (circa 5000 miles)."You don't use gasoline at all for 30-40 miles as you use exclusively battery power, then your vehicle is a pure hybrid. Over 234 miles, you will have used whatever gas the engine used for 200 of those miles."At least you're right on that. In hybrid mode, though, the Astra was using battery power when it wasn't at all appropriate. The petrol engine very rarely chimed in when battery power was on tap, and as a result, the EV-mode range quickly disappeared. The regular hybrid Civic, though, deployed its very small electric reserves (which are used up quickly but restore themselves promptly), much more wisely. Such as when on a trailing throttle or on a downward grade, or when in stop-start traffic. As a result, at the end of my 234 miles, the Civic had used less gas than the Astra. Moreover, I hadn't had to pay for the electricity in its battery.I look forward to you arguing that what actually happened isn't what actually happened, but I was there and you were not."Regardless, that you don't understand it appears not to have stopped you from pontificating on it. Please, do us all a favor--don't vote."You really are quite unpleasant, aren't you. But thanks for the advice.
  • Tassos Jong-iL Electric vehicles are mandated by 2020 in One Korea. We are ahead of the time.
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