ATHENS - BMW will try some new tricks to spark interest in its second-generation X5.
A big portion of the premium SUVs campaign will use novel forms of communication. Internet blogs and Webcasts will supplement traditional ads for the X5, Tom Stepanchak, Munich-based innovations manager for BMWs marketing department, said in an interview at the SUVs press introduction here.
BMW declined to discuss its spending on new media, but said it is far less than what it will spend on traditional advertising.
The non-traditional marketing includes podcast interviews with BMW executives speaking on the floor of major auto shows and Extreme sightseeing videos on the BMW Web site.
One of the videos shows a speedboat racing an X5 to deliver fresh fish to a restaurant in Italy.
Aimed at gearheads
Stepanchak said the new media is aimed at a small, avid group of fans.
We have a hungry and passionate audience and they want a peek behind the curtain, he said. This is aimed at gearheads, the people who drink 30-weight motor oil for lunch.
Stepanchak, a Californian who headed BMWs 2001 online series of Internet films called The Hire, said the Internet is now a mainstream medium.
His goal is to reach enthusiasts who write blogs and frequent Web sites such as video-playing YouTube and online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
BMW has twin marketing strategies. Broadcast and print ads boost awareness and build the brand.
That worked for the old X5. More than half of the 616,867 X5 buyers since 1999 were new to BMW, said Matthias Hoffmann, head of product management for X vehicles.
The second part is a smaller, tightly focused effort to reach new-media types who seek the latest online trends.
Before the X5 innovations campaign started, a BMW-made video of the new X5 was already on YouTube.
We had it on our Web site and somebody who liked it just lifted it and posted it on YouTube, Stepanchak said. And the best part is that this is all pull – information that these people actively seek out.
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