The automobile industry has been mired by the recession for so long, it is difficult to recall happier times when money-and creativity flowed in the marketing of cars. BMW broke barriers in automobile advertising in a way no other automaker had done in ages. Between 2001 and 2002, BMW released eight short films straight via their internet site, directed by the most renowned movie directors in the business. There were two commonalities between all the films-first, all the feature cars, were obviously BMWs, and second, the driver, Clive Owen, whose dashing good looks and steely demeanor are on a James Bond level.
The art of the films were impressive, but the purpose was to sell cars. And BMW reaped the benefits. After the first films went online, there were eleven million viewings in the first four months. Two million people registered to get more information from BMW. Sales of BMW cars increased 12% from the previous year.
This series on The Garage features some of my personal favorite films from the series. We will start with “Hostage”. Click to view, and there is more information about the film after the jump.
“The Hostage” was directed by John Woo. Woo’s eye of assimilating the revolver of a gun to the design of the BMW Z4’s wheels is genius. You may also recognize Kathryn Morris from the tv series Cold Case. Most impressive of all is the power of what a short film is capable of providing to the viewer, but that BMW took advertising their cars in a way no sixty second commercial could ever possibly convey. Power. Passion. Intensity. An emotional investment in the characters. BMW reached heights of automotive marketing that have yet to be matched, and it is our pleasure at The Garage to share, and relive the magic with our readers.