BMW have pushed technological and engineering boundaries with their new i8. It is a thing of wonder and beauty.
The ads they have created to launch the vehicle are old school pretension personified though.
They have been directed by well known film director Gus Van Sant. But having a marquee name at the helm seems to be something of an indulgence - the direction is tired and overly stylised - maybe made with the famous director app - phoned in.
There have been commercials in this genre in the past. When Nissan launched their luxury brand in the US they produced enigmatic poetic spots that defied the conventions of the day (narrative and meaning) with enigmatic imagery of skies and grass blowing on dunes (forgive me if the details are sketchy - I only have my memory to work from).
Of course showing a car frozen in gridlock is a grim reality, even for the most technologically agile vehicle, but it would make for a very dull commercial. The job of a brand commercial isn't to sell you the realities of the product. In fact it probably isn't to sell you anything. I have a feeling that prospective buyers of the new i8 are already either on the BMW USA database or they have been infiltrated with product exposure at some event or other with Gaga or Justin …… at the wheel. No, the purpose of the ad is to make the people outside the VIP tent, the rest of us at the the back of the plane to admire your vision, taste and access to credit.
The stirring soliloquies of the model actor's, representing the model in question swirl with heady, lyrical nonsense - never mind miles per gallon or finance rates, never mind the 'chermann' engineering - this vehicle, meine freundlings, is for us - we ubermensch who do not sit in traffic, who glide effortlessly across the dreamscapes of our lives against a bokeh backdrop of floating lights.
You'll note some clever details. No, not the gull wings - though gull wings are indeed clever details. In the commercial the vehicle makes a muted, throaty burr as its muscular haunches flash past the lens. Do you see what they did? The car is a hybrid - its claim to fame isn't its lightweight frame - it is a heavyweight commitment by one of the biggest car manufacturers in the world to sustainable energy. It is a hybrid. But to persuade luxury buyers that that car has cred and is as now as it is tomorrow they play the sound of a muscle car - this is today's Mustang - running wild and free - liberating its owner from the conventions of their workaday lives setting it apart from yesterdays men. You just plug it in next to your hair straightener at night.
The car is mighty. I love it. I'm looking forward to more and more innovation in car design. Hopefully it will be followed, at some stage in car advertising whose progress is as glacial as Auckland traffic.
And now for something completely different....
This blog is a notepad of contemporaneous and sometimes extemporaneous thoughts about creativity, strategy and ideas.