Marketing Awards Case Studies Brand Strategy

BMW goes that extra mile to engage an untapped audience


By Awards Analyst | writer

December 9, 2022 | 7 min read

Wavemaker UK and BMW won at The Drum Awards for Content 2022 in the Automotive or Transport for its Vogue/BMW: Forces for Change. Here, we find out more about this iconic alliance.

BMW advertisement in British Vogue

BMW x British Vogue Forces for Change

For years, BMW has been overlooked by an affluent female audience due to years of male-focused marketing. Wavemaker and BMW needed to find a way to appeal to female consumers. Through Vogue’s Forces for Change movement, they were able to authentically engage with issues women care about through print, digital and social content, seamlessly woven into the title’s cultural context.

The brief

With women, 37.8% more likely to choose an Audi than a BMW, and 38.3% less likely to choose a BMW than a man, the challenges BMW was facing were clearly having a knock-on effect on business results.

In an increasingly competitive industry, BMW realized the time was right to tackle this issue. But simply 'tweaking’ their approach to resonate with a female audience was not enough. They had to find a way to challenge the deep-set misconceptions of their brand among an affluent, female audience and build a meaningful, emotional connection with them.

Their insight revealed that the key metrics to shift were positive impression, perception of innovation and consideration, a direct driver of sales. They needed to change the way the female audience perceived BMW but knew this could not be done through advertising alone. They needed to be part of the conversation to authentically engage a female audience in and around issues that mattered to them.

The idea

Needing to connect and resonate with a female audience, Wavemaker and BMW built a framework focused on consistency, connection and change, and used it to identify the perfect media partner.

With 24.3% of British Vogue’s readers being women aged 35+, intending on buying a car in the next two years, it was the perfect fit.

Though they’d found the right partner, finding the right platform was crucial. Luckily BMW found it in Forces for Change, Vogue’s editorially driven purpose-led initiative that gives a platform to inspiring leaders, rising stars, and new disruptors.

The result was a fully integrated, year-long partnership that placed BMW front and center of real, meaningful conversations around issues that mattered to their audience. Together with Vogue, they created rich, engaging content across BMW’s four key brand purpose-driven pillars: sustainability, diversity and inclusion, innovation in design, and the next generation.

Through a bespoke film series, ‘The Extra Mile...’, where Vogue’s own Editor-in-Chief

Edward Enninful interviewed AJ Tracey, Simone Rocha and Lily Cole, BMW simultaneously showcased its all-electric range and became an integral part of powerful conversations with inspiring cultural leaders. Through a carefully curated ecosystem of print, social and digital content, they were able to align with the issues our audience really cared about in a truly integrated way.

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The results

The teams ambitiously set out to fundamentally change the perception of BMW among an affluent female audience. And by defining the right insight, selecting the right partner, and maintaining a consistent and powerful narrative throughout, they exceeded every target set.

  • Their partner selection was validated: 73% agreed Vogue was a good fit
  • It stood out: 63% agreed it was attention-grabbing
  • It reached 7 million people, with their video series viewed by 1.7million
  • It changed perceptions: driving a 143% increase in women thinking BMW's brand messaging fairly represents them

And most importantly, it delivered against the objectives:

  • Impression: 9% increase in positive impression scores
  • Innovation: 12% uplift in innovation scores for pre vs. post
  • Consideration: 21% uplift in consideration for pre vs. post

Their partnership reach was amplified through positive PR for the activity in mainstream media including The Guardian, The Independent and Sky News. It also had a clear positive impact on women considering choosing BMW.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Content 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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