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BMW Backs Out of Branded Entertainment

BMW of North America, which helped pioneer a new era of branded entertainment when it launched its first round of BMW Films online in the summer of 2001, has just about abandoned the genre after having long dominated it in the automotive category, writes AdAge, saying that branded entertainment is now simply too expensive for BMW, which - as a niche, family-controlled carmaker - has tighter budgets than its rivals. It spends roughly $70 million in measured media annually in the U.S. (according to TNS Media Intelligence); some brands spend that much for the launch of a single model.

Meanwhile, Toyota and Audi are racing to deal with Hollywood, and big marketers like GM, Ford and DaimlerChrysler are spending more across the board. And, once driven by characters such as James Bond, BMW cars are now driven by villains or henchmen, notes AdAge

It cites other reasons for the change in tactics: James McDowell, BMW's marketing chief, left to go to BMW's Mini USA as VP of sales and marketing; the company split with Fallon Worldwide (which produced The Hire series) after 10 years; and "a bureaucratic nightmare" after the parent company in Germany became involved are listed as factors in BMW's turnabout.

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