Date:03-17 16:36 Source：autochina.comnews.cn Authour：Zhu Shiyun
The German auto brand BMW celebrated its 100th birthday on March 7, the last of the world's top three luxury auto brands (the others being Mercedes-Benz and Audi) to do so. In the wake of the digitalization and Internet wave, innovation and vision will decide whether an enterprise will survive in the next century. As the "youngest" of the top three German auto brands, BMW revealed its vision for the future at the centenary celebration, while displaying distinct brand characteristics in the field of futuristic concept car and marketing.
He Lun, editor-in-chief of IBD's Auto Weekly, told Auto China: "My general impression is that BMW took full advantage of this centenary celebration and launched a brilliant marketing campaign. It is the youngest of the BBA triumvirate, so it chose to seize the high ground over the coming 100 years, striking people as young, ambitious and energetic."
Opening: congratulations from competitors
Although BMW started preparing for its centenary celebrations very early, publicity for the event started with congratulations from its "older brother" and traditional competitor Mercedes-Benz. Mercedes-Benz took a sideswipe with the statement that "I felt lonely in the 30 years before you were born", to which BMW provided an acerbic response: "You were there before I was born; you were old when I came along". Audi then expressed its "welcome" by saying "great minds always value each other". BBA presented to the public, especially to the Chinese market, a high-level publicity performance that we haven't seen for a long time, and those witty catchphrases have been forwarded over and over on microblog and WeChat.
In the process, BMW's century-old brand image gained new traction with the public in a lively and interesting way, and there was soon an online relay race of other brands congratulating BMW on its 100th birthday on the eve of the actual event.
Focus: the future
"What impressed me most is that BMW emphasized the next 100 years at its centenary. The tone of the event and its acoustics, lighting and electronic arrangements were all highly futuristic," He Lun told Auto China.
During the event, BMW presented its history mostly through speeches and photos on a big screen, and left the stage to the "future". Children's descriptions of future traffic and cars were made into a cartoon, a MINI "floated in space" by virtue of interactive images, BMW's strategy and concept were "pushed" by the staff from the ground to the big screen under highly futuristic and digital floating light balls, and the BMW VISION NEXT 100 Concept that was customized for the celebration was unveiled as the grand finale. "Future" was the main theme of BMW's centenary celebration.
In comparison, Audi's centenary celebration seven years ago was more traditional. Executives' speeches, presentation of classic cars and a concert starring the famous pianist Lang Lang were all aimed to display the brand's century-long history and achievements.
According to He Lun, it was wise of BMW to focus on the future since it is younger than Mercedes-Benz and Audi. "The other two brands have more to say about the past, so as the youngest of the top three German auto brands, BMW is better advised to talk about the future because it belongs to the 'young'."
Guest: gains & losses
In addition to the stage effects, another important feature of this kind of celebration is the heavyweight guests. Compared with Audi, BMW was unlucky. German premier Merkel gave a half-hour speech at Audi's centenary celebration 7 years ago, but on this occasion she couldn't attend the event personally as she was at an EU meeting negotiating with Turkey about the refugee issue. As a result she only sent a short video to express her congratulations.
What is interesting is that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler and Manfred Bischoff, boss of Mercedes-Benz's CEO Dieter Zetsche and chairman of Daimler's Board of Supervisors, both attended the BMW event and were invited to the celebratory luncheon too.
He Lun said he didn't know of any Mercedes-Benz or BMW executive who attended Audi's centenary celebration. This was perhaps because Audi was too busy taking care of its own big-shots, including executives from the VW Group and heads of VW's 12 brands.
He also said that BMW invited about 18 members of the Chinese media and provided a complete media package in Chinese on site, while Audi only invited five or six Chinese media representatives to their event, and did not make a complete set of materials available in Chinese. "Audi has always lagged behind BMW in global marketing and should learn from it in that respect."
To be continued: complete marketing
But BMW had prepared more than just a big show and a concept car for the centenary celebration. Earlier on it released the "100-year logo", which demonstrates BMW Group's determination to keep pressing ahead, and the four triangles represent the group's four images (trust, success, responsibility and vision) as well as the four brands (BMW, MINI, Rolls Royce and the BMW motorcycle).
Following the event of March 7, a tour show themed "Epoch-making Drive - BMW's Future Experience" will soon kick off and will visit China, Britain and the U.S. During the tour, BMW's comprehensive vision of future mobility will be presented, along with how the group and its sub-brands will create a more pleasant, richer and more personalized traffic experience.
As an added extra, the MINI Concept and Rolls Royce Concept will also be released. These two models were described in great detail in a poetry recital at BMW's centenary celebration.
"Just imagine, every MINI is your MINI, every MINI knows who you are, what you want and how you feel. It knows everything about you, understands you, and makes sure your MINI is to your taste, both the interior and exterior."
"Just imagine, MINI is more than just a vehicle. It is the continuation of you. Your personal needs decide everything. You are the reason for everything."
"A pure world of Rolls Royce. Just imagine, you are travelling without any sense of fatigue because what takes you around is a quiet energy. You move from the world of fast racing to the new age of peace and tranquility."
"Your travel will be more luxurious. Everyone will be attracted by the amazing halo around you. Just imagine, as you sail past the whole world falls silent when looking at you."