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How the BMW 2002 changed Marketing

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

The BMW 2002 is the perfect marketing example of the right product with the right promotion. It not only saved BMW, but repositioned the company for success. And it changed both the car market and marketing.


The 2002 was a compact sports sedan built by BMW from 1968 to 1976. It changed everything by establishing BMW as a manufacturer of performance-oriented cars and started the whole sports sedan segment. The success of the 2002 built the foundation for BMW's future lineup of driver-oriented vehicles. It was the precursor to the BMW 3 Series, which became one of the German brand's most iconic and successful models.


BMW marketed the 2002 by highlighting its performance, handling, and the total driving experience. The car's success in motorsport, and unique styling added to the targeted marketing to help the 2002 gain a devoted following and solidify its position as a classic and iconic model in BMW's storied history.


The 2002 had positive reviews from automotive media and was not produced in big numbers, which added an element of exclusivity to the model. This limited availability contributed to its desirability among driving enthusiasts.


BMW aimed its marketing efforts at a specific demographic of drivers who were interested in performance and the driving experience. The ads were tailored to appeal to individuals who valued spirited driving and a more connected relationship with their vehicles - cars that went far beyond speed - but that offered performance.


Based on this success BMW offered new models in its lineup, including the 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series. Each of these series took over where the last left off, aimed at different segments within the market and solidifying BMW's new reputation The 3 Series, 5 Series, and 7 Series showcased the brand's commitment to offering vehicles that combined driving pleasure, performance, luxury, and innovative technology.


BMW's advertising campaigns in the 1970s and 80s were smart and successful - playeing a massive role in reshaping the brand's image as a maker of premium and performance-oriented vehicles. One of the most iconic and enduring slogans in automotive marketing, "The Ultimate Driving Machine," was introduced in the 1970s to convey the brand's commitment to creating vehicles that offered exceptional driving dynamics with a thrilling driving experience.


In the 1980s when most automakers were focusing on fuel efficiency and practicality due to the energy crisis, but BMW chose to highlight its cars' driving enjoyment and performance.


And BMW told stories that focused on the driving experience, often featuring winding roads, scenic landscapes, and the joy of driving. These narratives resonated with consumers who valued driving as more than just basic transportation. With this BMW maintained a consistent visual and tonal brand identity across its ads, which helped reinforce the image of BMW as a premium brand associated with driving pleasure.



BMW's 1970 and 80s ad campaigns succeeded by focusing on the joy of driving, emphasizing performance, and creating a strong emotional connection with consumers who valued a premium and engaging driving experience. The "Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan and the creative storytelling in their marketing left a lasting impact on the brand's image and reputation.


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