In 2001, BMW faced a series of daunting problems. Their target market was spending less time watching TV and more time on the burgeoning internet. Even though the tagline was The Ultimate Driving Machine, network TV restrictions made it impossible to show what a BMW could really do. On top of it all, BMW had no new news or models to talk about.
So where to start? Well, BMW had always been a technology driven company, so why not conceive a technology driven idea that could circumvent the problems the brand was facing? The result was BMW Films The Hire. The branded film, online content campaign that started it all.
100 million views online before YouTube even existed. The first ever Titanium Award at Cannes (created specifically to honor BMW, now synonymous with category redefining creative work.) And, perhaps most importantly, sales growth of over 20%, followed by an exhaustive, post-project research report showing double-digit percentage growth in perception of BMW’s most important metrics; safety, performance, and desire to drive.
The campaign is still mentioned as the gold standard of branded content.
Directors: John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee, Wong Kar-wai, Guy Ritchie, Alejandro González Iñárritu, John Woo, Joe Carnahan, Tony Scott, and Neill Blomkamp.