BMW PULLS OUT OF BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT
Company That Pioneered Field Now Cuts It Off
By Jean Halliday and Marc Graser, AD AGE
BMW of North America, which played a major role in pioneering the new era of branded entertainment, has suddenly ended its use of that marketing technique. Since the summer of 2001 when its first round of BMW Films became an Internet sensation, no discussion about branded entertainment took place without a mention of the company. The German automaker has long dominated the space in the automotive category, creating the benchmark for product placement. Its vehicles have appeared in the James Bond movies and its online short-film The Hire also spawned its own comic book collection. But as other marketers aggressively look to try to replicate the company’s success with entertainment, BMW has suddenly nearly abandoned the genre.
Abandoned the genre
The company switched entertainment agencies this year, moving from Davie-Brown Entertainment after six years, to Rogers & Cowan, both in Los Angeles. Its Hire series has run its course, ending with the recent comic book spinoff that had little marketing support behind it. In Hollywood, the company is absent, opting not to sponsor high-profile events around town. It doesn’t loan out its vehicles to celebrities or influencers. And when it comes to product placement, the company is only interested in the most basic arrangements — wanting to spend little, if anything, on additional media to support the project. The primary reason for BMW’s new backseat approach: Branded entertainment is just getting too expensive. According to executives close to the client and experts in Hollywood, BMW doesn’t have the marketing dollars to ink entertainment deals at a time when integration fees and marketing requests from film or TV partners are escalating.
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