BMW’s decision to sell Rover has put the German motor manufacturer in
the media spotlight in the UK. There is no doubt the Rover affair will
affect BMW’s advertising expenditure and brand strategy over the coming
year. Adspend has already dropped in the first two months of 2000.
Agencies - Zenith Media handles BMW’s media buying and planning, and WCRS
handles its creative work. There are continual rumours suggesting BMW will
centralise its European media and creative accounts in Munich, but the
company is unlikely to make a decision until it knows the full effect of
Total spend and the media mix - BMW spent pounds 14.2 million on
advertising in the year to February 2000 - not enough to put it in the top
100 advertisers but still a sizeable ad budget. Most spend went on TV and
press (52 per cent and 39 per cent of spend respectively). This was
supported by outdoor, direct mail and radio campaigns. BMW did not use
cinema last year.
Spend details - BMW’s advertising spend in the 12 months to February 2000
was concentrated in two major campaigns which ran from May to June and
September to November. The company spent pounds 5.4 million (38 per cent
of annual spend) on the summer drive and pounds 5.5 million on the autumn
push. Both involved the launch of a TV campaign.
These peaks aside, TV and press ads ran throughout the year. Radio ads
were used in four of the 12 months, while 99 per cent of outdoor spend was
in June 1999. Direct mail advertising was minimal.
BMW advertised on 62 television channels over the year, split between 13
satellite and 49 terrestrial. Spend was clearly focused on major
metropolitan areas, with the top channels comprising LWT, Carlton and
Central as well as more upmarket satellite channels such as Discovery and
This upscale bias is also reflected in press advertising, where tabloid
titles were shunned in favour of mid- and upmarket titles. The Daily Mail
and The Mail on Sunday landed pounds 1.2 million of BMW’s spend (over a
fifth of all press spend), Telegraph Group netted pounds 750,000 and The
Times and The Sunday Times bagged pounds 1.1 million. BMW’s favoured
magazines included Harpers & Queen, Golf World and Autocar. There was
negligible use of regional titles - this is in marked contrast to Ford,
whose dealers advertise in a wide variety of regional press.
Conclusions - General bad feeling over the Rover affair - some fleet
managers are already removing BMW from the choice of vehicles offered to
staff - means BMW will have to evaluate and probably change its UK ad
It could continue to push the core brand values of its ’ultimate driving
machine’ but if fleet and private sales begin to suffer from buyer
resentment, BMW will almost certainly have to re-think its strategy to
deliver a new brand proposition.
Research by AC Nielsen MMS tel: 01344-627553 www.mediamonitoring.com