BMW celebrates 100 years: A look back at the brand's advertising history

This week marks the centenary of one of the world’s most famous car brands BMW.

Founded in 1916, Bayerische Motoren Werke (German for Bavarian Motor Works), to this date, still sells over one million cars per year, and that’s not counting its Mini, Rolls-Royce and motorcycle sub brands.

Famous for its ‘Ultimate Driving Machine’ slogan, here we celebrate the milestone with a look back at some of BMW’s best ads from over the years.

This long-copy BMW ad dates back to the late 1960s

Introduced in the 1970s the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' tagline has served BMW well

BMW celebrated the arrival of the K1200R motorcycle with this famous ad

The 'Ultimate Driving Machine' slogan still features to this day

40 years of BMW's 3 series was marked by this colourful campaign

BMW promoted its used car offering with this memorable UK ad

Joseph Fiennes narrated this international campaign

In America BMW celebrated its 'Newfangled Idea' with this 1994 throwback

BMW pressed pause on the 'Ultimate Driving Machine' (briefly) to launch 'Joy'

The Lund Brothers landed the 'One Origin. Two Originals' campaign in 2011 thanks to an online casting call

BMW celebrated a 'spirit of freedom' in this advert for the X1

In 2015 the 3 series marked 40 years with this ad

And, of course, The Drum's Chip Shop Awards have parodied BMW over the years too...

Get the Newsletter

Keep up to date with the latest news and insights.


Gillian West

Gillian West is The Drum’s social media manager and works to ensure The Drum’s content reaches followers across platforms including Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram in an engaging, relevant and timely manner. Based in Glasgow, she has been actively involved in building The Drum’s Creative Works brand for over three years now and has interviewed major creative figures including Rankin, Peter Souter, Rosie Arnold, Bob Greenberg and Vicki Maguire. During her time at The Drum she has attended events such as Cannes Lions, the Edinburgh International TV Festival, Art Director’s Club Europe, D&AD and more.

All by Gillian