BMW Preps 2012 Olympics Campaign

BMWBMW North America is preparing its largest-ever national retail and advertising push aligned with its sponsorship of Team USA. The campaigns will include national and local television ads; digital advertising; and a new version of a retail program launched last year to get people to test drive BMW vehicles, a program that also raises money for Olympians. There will also be promotional elements dangling trips to the games.  

At retail, BMW is running its second "BMW Drive for Team USA," which invites consumers to go to BMW dealers to test drive the new 3 Series. For each test drive BMW North America will donate $10 to Team USA, for a maximum donation of $200,000. 

The automaker did this program last year as well, but Stacy Morris, who handles marketing and culture communications for the Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based BMW North America, says this time around the program expands from 277 test drive events last year to over 300 events. The events will include appearances by U.S. Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, former athletes, and other Olympics personages. 

The automaker's Mini USA division will run a separate program called "Mini Takes the States," a series of events for Mini enthusiasts benefitting the Paralympic Team. 

Morris tells Marketing Daily that BMW North America's Summer Olympics ad buy on NBC will be the biggest single media buy ever for the company. She explains that the BMW Group corporation is handling worldwide efforts around the games, while BMW North America sponsors Team USA. "The marketing campaign is a significant buy with NBC, as we are the foreign automotive advertiser for the London Games, exclusively." 

Morris says the test-drive program will be supported this year by CRM and direct-marketing efforts to owners and prospects -- not TV ads, as was the case last year. 

Dan Creed, VP of marketing for BMW of North America, said in a statement that last year the automaker had 20,000 customers participate in the "BMW Drive for Team USA" events, with dealers getting a 23% conversion rate, "yielding the most-ever purchases following a marketing event,” he said. 

BMW North America is supporting 11 Olympic and Paralympic athletes and hopefuls, collectively the "BMW Performance Team U.S." In London this summer, the automaker will have a pavilion above the Waterworks River near the Olympic Stadium and the Aquatics Center. BMW will also have something like 4,000 vehicles including low-emission diesel, hybrid and electric cars, motorcycles and even BMW bicycles at the behest of the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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