Design for Life – BMW 8-Series launch
Luxury car buyers have never had it so good… but the increase in choice means that design has become ever more important. Styling distinguishes a brand’s products from its rivals. To BMW, the launch of the new 8 Series was more than just a new car. The company’s range-topping sportscar lies at the heart of BMW’s commitment to the luxury market. BMW has invested to renew and refresh their product portfolio, and part of this is to step up in the highest segment of the luxury market.
The 8 Series has to look like a sportscar, because that is what it is at heart, but it also needs to communicate a level of luxury appropriate to its position.
One of the first rules of design is that a product should look like what it is, and that styling should never make promises that can’t be delivered. “The design has to arouse strong emotions while expressing the highest quality and durability at the same time” explains Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President, BMW Group Design.
“We’re building a luxury ecosystem, a model family.” adds van Hooydonk. “The vehicle body looks more powerful, refined and luscious with its lavish surfaces, but it cannot lose the sportiness that is typical to a BMW”.
Creating the ultimate customer experience for the ultimate driving experience was a challenge. Working with luxury publication Robb Report and BMW agency Wavemaker, creative concepts were developed and presented to BMW using a mix of social media, print and events. While digital channels can generate an immediate response and build awareness quickly, a broader mix of channels was important to ensure that the luxury, quality and gravitas of the new range could be conveyed. A discerning audience must have the option to explore and understand what is on offer; to see and feel the time, experience and attitude behind the car. It was felt this was best achieved through a physical medium supporting the digital campaigns.
Ultimately, it is also about choice, and about helping users to create their own relationship with the car. The luxury market demands interest and individuality. For example, did you know the centre console trim of the one-off ‘Night Sky’ Coupe uses meteorite trimmings estimated to be 4.5 billion years old? “The perception of luxury is very different worldwide. But a central aspect that is visible everywhere is the increasing significance of personal time. It is becoming the most valuable asset”. Functionality is something you need to have, luxury is something you want to have.
Beyond the style, the 8-series offers a heavyweight specification. The car boasts no less than 16 speakers balanced throughout, and the 530bhp 4.4l v8 beneath the bonnet of the M850i can power the car to 62mph in just 3.7 seconds with a top speed of 155mph.
Pietar Nota (Member of the board of management of BMW AG) highlights the importance of marrying innovation with tradition… “For us as a technology-based company, innovation and productivity are the main ways we can retain relevance for our customers. But within that, I’m a firm believer there is no future without a past, so I also value tradition highly”.
Robb Report’s focus on redefining luxury offered the ideal platform for BMW to reach the 8 Series audience and establish its credentials. To maximise the impact, a an extended multi-page advertising feature was developed that explored the ethos and design behind the new car with supporting articles from Tiff Needell and the Robb Report editor. LC proposed a supplement format and found a novel way to embed the supplement in the magazine using a “magna-strip” – tying the content within the magazine but allowing the reader to extract the supplement and retain separately. This simple approach gives the piece a life beyond the magazine itself.
Creating such a beautiful piece customer would be valueless without it reaching the intended audience. To achieve this, LC built a distribution plan targeting 5-star hotels, shooting lodges, private member’s clubs, private jet centres/helipads, corporate office, luxury apartments, hedge funds and airport lounges. Specialist placements included events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed, The British Open and the British Grand Prix. BMW were also keen to support their partners within the launch and to achieve this, LC created branded/wrapped versions which were distributed to dealerships.
A final word to van Hooydonk… “Luxury must be reflected to the outside world in a very matter-of-fact way. In English there is a beautiful word for it – ‘sophistication’. For designers – this means that every detail counts.”
- Product Design
- Print Production
- Specialist Distribution
- Targeted Placement
- Ad-hoc Requirements