The content of the following article was Australian dinner conversation in the 90's. Back then there was a movement away from luxury items and towards experiences. There was an explosion of restaurants at every level and tourism expanded as individuals sought to have a richer life. In parallel, corporations started to focus on paying consistent dividends in order to provide certainty to fund these experiences.
BMW Touts 'Joy,' Value in New Ads
By ALEX P. KELLOGG
With Americans tightening their belts, BMW AG is parking "the ultimate driving machine" in the garage, at least for a while.
The auto maker for years has promoted the power and performance of its cars using that slogan, one of the longest-running and most well-known in the auto industry.
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.But now the company is switching gears. On Friday, it was launching an advertising campaign that focuses on the joy the company says comes from owning its vehicles and suggests BMWs are safe for mothers and children. One print ad uses the tagline "Joy is Maternal"—a departure from past promotions that touted horsepower, handling and acceleration.
In another big change, the campaign features photos of real BMW owners more than shots of its vehicles. In the past, images of BMW vehicles dominated its ads. People—and even celebrity pitchmen—were shunned to keep the focus on the car. The new "Joy" campaign "is a big departure for us," said Jack Pitney, vice president of marketing for BMW North America. "We hope to really add some humanity to our brand" and show the diversity of its buyers, he said.
BMW declined to say how much it is spending on the campaign; it said it is the most expensive brand-wide campaign ever in North America for the German auto maker.
The shift in BMW advertising illustrates how makers of luxury autos are trying to alter their messages to fit the mood of America as the country pulls out of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
Companies in many industries have found that consumers have turned away from the free spending of the late 1990s and earlier this decade. The new appreciation for frugality and values means companies like BMW have to find new ways of persuading people to pay $30,000, or much more, for a car.
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BMW, with its 'Joy' campaign, is adjusting its advertising message.
.Others already have started down this path. In January, Acura, the upscale brand owned by Honda Motor Co., began airing an ad called "White Room," which shows just the frame of an MDX sport-utility vehicle crashing into a wall. The ad aims to demonstrate the vehicle's top-rated crash-safety ratings. Several years ago, the MDX was advertised smoothly taking curves on an empty highway.
"Now it's down to the bare-bones message," said Steven Center, vice president of national marketing for Acura in North America. "What you're getting is less art, less esoteric and more blunt messages" about the added value under the hood of a luxury vehicle, he said.
Recent commercials by Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz have highlighted its vehicles' safety features, crash-test results and strong resale values. At the end, a voice-over says, "The question isn't whether you can afford to drive a Mercedes-Benz, but whether you can afford not to."
Steve Cannon, vice president of marketing for Mercedes in the U.S., said the idea is to point out the "value beneath the skin."
BMW's new campaign is set to launch during the opening of the winter Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, and is the first major ad push in the U.S. for BMW in four years.
The "ultimate driving machine" slogan still appears in the ads, but only in small print. Many of the ads also suggest cars aren't what BMW is offering. In one called "Joy is BMW," the text reads: "At BMW we don't make cars. We make joy."
Madelyn Hochstein, president of DYG, a market-research firm that works with BMW and whose research helped shape the new campaign, said the reasons to buy premium vehicles have changed in the current economic climate. "People now want to lead a richer life, rather than a life of riches," she said.
In coming months, BMW's ad campaign will evolve into a value message. It will emphasize the quality of the engineering, vehicle safety, the company's four-year or 50,000-mile free service package and the fuel economy of its diesels and hybrids.
Its latest campaign will still include classic elements: One print ad to appear in the March issue of Vanity Fair will show a black-and-white photo of Elvis Presley stepping into a BMW 507. Another shows a boy at a steering wheel with the slogan, "Joy is Youthful." That is a departure from the past. In the '80s, an ad featured a BMW 7 Series sedan arriving at a polo match. "It was all about prestige and status," said Mr. Pitney. "We look at that now and we cringe."