It’s Dare!

BMW’s daring X2 crossover breaks new ground by changing the rules, thereby ruling the game. No really – it totally does.

You’re totally not supposed to ‘read’ those grey bits. Stop looking at them! Image: autorevue

Invent Yourself

In the BBC comedy, 2012 and it’s spinoff, W1A, the standout character is that of Brand Consultant and head of PR agency Perfect Curve, Siobhan Sharpe, played with considerable aplomb by actress, Jessica Hynes. In the show, Siobhan is engaged, enthusiastic, totally on-zeitgeist. Her dial is set to communicate, yet lacks a filter or indeed much in the way of genuine insight. As a communicator, Siobhan never seems to listen. She is wrong about almost everything, yet steadfast and assured in her chosen pathway. In short, Siobhan is the personification of marketing at its most vacuous. She is however, a construct. A cleverly embellished facsimile.

Set Yourself Apart

Marketing and advertising are the very air we breathe. Without them we are reliably informed, brands would struggle to insert themselves into our consciousness. For over a century, advertising has invaded our lives and at its most creative has subtly enhanced it. But the double blow of the financial crash and the rise of the internet has seen it degenerate into a numbers game. Creativity? That’s as last century as Madison Avenue anti-heroes and cocktails at three.

What is Daring?

All of this is by way of saying that I have some sympathy with the men and women tasked with pitching (often mediocre) products to a world of ad-blockers and jaded seen-it-all palates. Take Hildegard Wortmann, for example. Having previously overseen the rise of brand-MINI, Wortmann is currently Senior Vice President Brand BMW, and as such defines the message and channels through which the BMW marketing narrative is funnelled.

Totally daring. Image: BMW

Never Run From Risk

Ms. Wortmann’s team is behind the launch spot for new BMW X2 crossover, whose virtues, such as they are, can be viewed in all their Precision and Poetry in the clip below. You’re more than capable of drawing your own conclusions as to the merits or otherwise of both the vehicle itself and indeed the spot that promotes it, but what I will say is that it does appear for all the world as though Hildegard and her minions have been imbibing the same brand of cooking sherry Henrik Fisker has developed an addiction to.

Rise Above Status

Wortmann acolyte, Uwe Dreher, outlining the X2’s ‘virtual’ marketing strategy defined the car’s target group as follows. “The X2 will appeal to a relatively new, young and digitally-savvy target group that is also looking for unique and contemporary experiences from communications.” In reality of course, the X2’s demographic is more likely to be resolutely suburban, in possession of a decent full-salary pension, be neither new, nor particularly youthful – (young-at-heart might be a closer approximation) and wouldn’t recognise (or understand) a contemporary communication experience if one came up and bit them.

Be the One Who Dares

Okay, I mislead you. I will share my opinion of the X2, a pointless device of no apparent merit, styled in a soporifically generic manner (aggressive face!) to neither offend nor particularly excite and one which probably previews the appearance of next year’s front-drive 1-Series (but will most likely outsell it). So in short, what we have here is an empty channel in breathless cause of promoting an even emptier vessel.

Okay, so… roads are totally over. Image: BMW Park Lane

Contrary to what you’re probably thinking, far from being a cleverly embellished facsimile, Hildegard Wortmann is an actual person with a crust to earn and a job title to justify. Is it her fault that she’s been given so little to work with? Arguable perhaps, but what is beyond debate is that creatively speaking, both car and ad-spot are in alignment. One might even go as far as to suggest they represent a Perfect Curve.

See what I did Dare?

 

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

14 thoughts on “It’s Dare!”

  1. Is the lower grille BMW’s answer to Günak’s VW chrome bib?
    Imagine it painted orange and call the car a BRM 200
    or

  2. Wow, hoe did you find that clip? That really is the biggest load if old Pseud’s Corner bollocks I have seen for a very long time – more like a perfume ad than one for a car. At first I thought it was being ironic, but then I realised that BMW doesn’t do ironic, and so it is just vacuous crap. The car itself is a shocker – what is the point if MINI if BMW then goes all ‘digitally savvy’ and besmirches the core brand with a model sporting the equivalent of a hoodie and tats?

  3. I hate this X2. The forthcoming X7 is an abomination. My love for BMW is being seriously challenged.

    I feel they have become addicted to volume, regardless of profitability or long term strategy. Are the incremental sales really worth it?

  4. Fatuousness sticks to this concept at every level. The “very first X-2” is unbelievably pretentious and pompous and self-important. About the only thing going for this car is its gold colour but the colour is smirched by association with a vehicle of such obnoxious character. I don´t really feel like discussing its appearance. A third look shows me there is nothing much to discuss.
    BMW´s original theme of quite serious, neat cars for people who liked driving or valued driving quality has been well and truly washed away. If I had the money and wanted such a car I might consider buying a base model mid-sized saloon from any maker who still offered one and have its suspension and steering adjusted to my taste (and no exterior/interior changes).

    1. I daresay this is the complete opposite of that X2 video in almost every sense of the word:

    2. I watched the Redspace video. I love some of the thinking, especially the one about 90% of the time a car is just a static space (intuitively that seems true – it may even be more than that. The shape is unconventional, but at least you can discern a reason for it. Some of that thinking has echoes of what Gordon Murray has been trying to do with his own city-based solutions, like the T27, albeit the latter is more fixated on minimising the footprint per se rather than maximising the interior space from a small footprint. Of course, some of Bangle and his associates’ mutterings are fluff, but, in the main, this video shows what much of what BMW is doing at the moment is lamentable. I still think an exception – albeit the concept is over 5 years old now – is the i3, which gets a notable mention in this clip from Bangle.

  5. Okay, here’s the thing with this, okay, if they get bandwidth on this they’ll have maple syrup on their waffles from the get-go.

  6. Gawd, that ad…I’m not sure if it’s aimed at James Bond wannabes, James Bond villains or plain old sociopaths. Maybe all three?

  7. What a pity. I used to believe one could excuse BMW for many aesthetic sins if the engineering of the car would be something special, for the new crop of cheap transverse engined front wheel drive models such as this one i cannot find an excuse anymore. What a waste of great marque.

  8. News just in. BMW has appointed Hildegard Wortmann to lead their marketing / distribution function across Asia /Pacific – but excluding China as of Jan 1 2018. Replacing her is Sven Schuhwirth, fresh from heading the Brand Strategy and Digital Marketing functions over at Ingolstadt.

    This may or may not be good news for Ms. Wortmann, depending on whether it is (a) a promotion and (b) how much a change of scenery and climate suits her (she’ll be based in Singapore), but for the writer, it’s a little frustrating. I had hoped to get a bit more mileage out of Hildegard and her pronouncements. Still, we totally wish her the best.

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