A new marketing campaign for BMW's certified used-vehicle program targets consumers' emotions as well as their desire for a good deal. Its tag line: "Drive with your heart. Buy with your head."
Bill Bates, pre-owned manager for BMW of North America LLC, says the campaign aims to persuade potential buyers that they can own a luxury vehicle for the cost of a new mass-market car or truck.
"It's the old right-brain, left-brain thing," Bates tells Automotive News. "What better way to get this really emotional car than to buy certified pre-owned? It's a smart choice."
The campaign replaces a year-old one that had the tag line "No compromise." Bates would not disclose the cost of the campaign but says the ad budget for BMW's certified program is up about 5 percent this year over 2005. BMW's 339 U.S. dealerships all sell the brand's certified used vehicles.
Last month, BMW sold 8,259 certified vehicles -- a 31.1 percent increase over May 2005. From January through May, the company sold 36,889 vehicles, up 23.3 percent from the year-ago period.
Overall, the industry sold 144,175 certified used vehicles in May -- 11.1 percent more than in May 2005. In the first five months of 2006, the industry sold 690,681 certified used cars and trucks -- a 2.9 percent increase from the year-ago period.
Bates says BMW typically has 10,000 used vehicles in its inventory at the start of a month. This year, he says, the number is closer to 12,000 because more vehicles are coming off lease.
A 30-second TV commercial for the new campaign shows a car being inspected. As an announcer says that other car companies' inspections of pre-owned vehicles will never find one thing, the emblem of a BMW 5 series comes into focus.
A radio spot tells listeners that "a certified BMW is a BMW for life," while "a new whatever is new for about a minute and a whatever forever." The campaign also includes print ads.
Carroll Stewart, general manager of a BMW dealership in Sterling, Va., says the ad campaign effectively leverages the company's brand image. The dealership expects to sell about 700 to 800 certified-used BMW vehicles this year, says dealer principal Thomas Moorehead.
Says Stewart: "Instead of just giving things to look at, (campaign ads) are giving the customer things to think about."
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