BMW Reminds Marketers That Little Ideas Can Be Huge

Real Estate

I love when a brand finds a innovative, relevant, non-intrusive way to get in front of its target audience. BMW has done just that with its “sponsorship,” if you want to call it that, of Heaps Estrin Real Estate’s high-dollar home listings. The brand staged these multi-million dollar homes with brand new high-end BMW models right in the driveways, visible in the digital listings as well as during live home tours. That one little idea has huge reverberations for BMW (and Heaps Estrin, for that matter).

First, here’s what the staged vehicles looked like in the driveways:

First reverberation: live luxury home shoppers.

The epicenter of this idea’s power is, of course, on any given Sunday when there’s an open house and people who can afford a multi-million dollar home are touring these homes. Okay, so maybe it’s by appointment only, but still, these wealthy folks are assessing the curb appeal of their prospective new home and, boom, there’s a gorgeous BMW parked right in front.

According to the press release, 33% of Canadian luxury vehicle purchases decisions are triggered by a new home purchase.

Given that insight, the impact of this driveway “media impression” is marketing dynamite. First, awareness of that particular BMW model, at all, particularly when high net-worth individuals are in buying mode. Second, the normalization of that BMW model being a part of a high-end luxury lifestyle that the home shopper is currently living. And, three—and this is the true TNT—the shoppers are in the process of seeing themselves living in this home so you just have to think the BMW in front of the home will enjoy some spill-over from that psychological visualization.

As a result, the BMW could become an incredibly expensive (to us) accessory to a much larger purchase.

Second reverberation: marketing materials targeted to luxury home shoppers.

The BMWs aren’t only showing up at open houses live, they are also photographed in context when the realtor is photographing the rest of the home. That way, these BMWs are enjoying nearly the same awareness, normalization and psychological visualization as they are in real life.

Further—and tell me you don’t do this—those who enjoy looking at how the other half lives and peruse these kinds of high-dollar homes online for fun are going to witness these BMWs in the context of that fantasy. The brand will enjoy some awareness value but also might just be perceived as a ticket to the other half. People may think, “Well, I won’t ever be able to afford that home, but that BMW might look pretty awesome in my driveway.”

Third reverberation: passersby.

Each home with a high-end BMW parked out front becomes a BMW pop-up “advertisement” for those driving by. Most won’t be able to afford the homes, but the association of BMW with those homes improves the brand’s perception. But also may, like those perusing how the other half lives online, inspire a BMW consideration as a ticket to that other/better half.

How can you look at your market differently?

All of these reverberations came from one simple insight: BMW drivers tend to be wealthier, so let’s put the brand in front of them when they are considering other high-dollar purchases. In this case high end real estate.

An idea like this requires an intimate understanding of the audience and then an injection of your brand in a creative new place that feels organic to your audience (can’t get more organic than a car in a driveway). One trick you could try is to have your media folks do a Simmons or MRI run on your audience’s profile. Have them find other brands and activities that index highly against your audience. Might spur some ideas.

Speaking of which, the other ingredient an idea like this BMW idea requires is unabashed creativity. It’s one thing to look at a list of high-indexing activities (if they even did that) and quite another to come up with a great idea for one. BMW looked at the high-end real estate market totally differently.

And in the process became the ultimate marketing machine.

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