How BMW jumped into the Super Bowl

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LAS VEGAS -- BMW of North America’s commercials during the Super Bowl weren’t planned. It happened quickly and it wasn’t a corporate decision.

Dan Creed, vice president of marketing, said BMW created six digital spots to run on the Internet as part of its major advertising campaign for the new generation 3-series sedan. The car goes on sale this week. The spots were created to run this week on Web sites such as NBC.com, ABC.com and Hulu.

Each spot features a technology -- such as a heated steering wheel, keyless remote, or rear- and side-view cameras. The shorts weren’t expensive to make -- not nearly as much as a real Super Bowl commercial.

BMW showed the spots to dealers last week. To Creed’s surprise the tri-state dealers in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut said they loved the shorts and wanted to use their co-op advertising money to buy Super Bowl air time being offered last minute and at a discount by the local TV affiliate. The commercial would only air in their region and they wanted the short called “The Big Grab” featuring BMW’s heated steering wheel.

Then the Los Angeles dealers wanted to run “The Close Call” where a husband calls up e-mail via his car as he approaches home in the 3 series. He learns his mother-in-law just popped in and backs away from the house cautiously.

Atlanta and Houston dealers said they also loved “The Close Call” and were going to run it in their markets.

So within two days, BMW got the Super Bowl. All four regions spent significantly less than the millions of dollars BMW would have had to dish out for a national Super Bowl commercial, said Creed.

Now that’s what I call bang for your buck.

You can reach Diana T. Kurylko at dkurylko@crain.com. -- Follow Diana on Twitter

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