In the case "Launching the BMW Z3 Roadster" the reader is immersed into the magical world of automobile marketing. The case deals with the launch, of the now infamous BMW Z3 roadster, a car that revolutionized and rejuvenated the boring American motor industry back in the mid 1990's. The case talks about the successful first phase launch of this new drop top beauty. It focuses on the customers and how they suddenly picked up the marketing cues and stories depicted by the various promotional parties that were led by James McDowell, BMW's marketing vice president. This was a marketing campaign that gained a lot of merit and success by using unconventional promotion methods to put their product out into the public. The primary methods tried to stay away from the usual billboards and print media. Rather, the marketing teams decided to take the car into the new world of cinema and multimedia, where sound, sight, video and technology would promote the car during a time of accelerated IT growth . The team at BMW decided that since the Z3 was a new unconventional' car, it also required equal unconventional marketing methods to match its identity. The BMW Z3 was a lifestyle car and what better way to put this idea forward than by releasing it alongside the passionate and stylish gadget man himself, 007 James Bond; exposed through the new technological gateways of the internet and the movies. This paper will try and look deeper into this case of BMW's successful Z3 launch and whether or not they will be able to match the enthusiasm in the second phase of the vehicle's launch.
1. BMW's shift into the "Non Traditional" marketing venue.
BMW (Bavarian Motor Works) has always been a strong name associated with quality and performance in the automobile industry. From their humble beginnings as an aircraft engine manufacturer in 1916 during World War 1, they slowly shifted into manufacturing engines for motorcycles and then finally moved into full time car manufacturing by 1929 . The Bavarian built background was a feature that has been built into their brand. The new Z3 was going to be a challenge in that it was the first BMW to be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In order for customers to buy into this new American built BMW would actually be a challenge, because the Bavarian' stronghold was now no longer a part of this new vehicle. BMW knew that this point may cause certain customers who grew up with the Bavarian built mindset, who had strong associations with Germany's quality automobile industry (Mercedes, Audi and Porsche); might actually shun this car before its launch. Also the Z3 was a new sort of car altogether; It was a budget conscious sporty roadster (Convertible), that was intended to get BMW out of its standard "serious" image and to revive and reposition the brand itself as a car with great driving performance along with style and attitude as well .
To achieve these goals, BMW was going to need not only a great marketing campaign, but one that particularly could actually differentiate from the rest of the pack. They had to have an "unconventional campaign" to promote their new unconventional car to revive its image as well as to counter any preconceived notions that the car would be of poor quality, being American made. Also BMW had noticed that unconventional methods could result in major cost savings from previous studies. Another reason why BMW may have opted for this sort of unconventional pre release could also do with the fact that they (BMW) were just about to introduce the new BMW 5 series. This is a standard 4 door sedan, something completely opposite to the new Z3 roadster. The 5 series being a traditional passenger vehicle could utilize the "conventional" model of advertising through billboards and print. Going forward for the same marketing tactics with the Z3 could have led to internal competition and cannibalism of the Z3's marketability.
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