BMW HAD A HANDLE ON TRADITIONAL SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING, BUT IT TOOK A RISK ON A “DRIFT MOB” TO REACH NEW AUDIENCES. HERE’S HOW IT PAID OFF.
In this article originally appearing in Fast Company, author Michael Fitzgerald introduces us to Steven Althaus. Althaus, BMW‘s global director of brand management who’s moment of digital truth came this past spring as he stood in front of top management, telling them the automaker was about to use a drift mob to help market their new car, the M235i.
Five professional drivers were set to go behind the wheel of the M235is and drift—or drive at high speeds, hit the brakes, and turn the steering wheel to spin the car abruptly—around a traffic circle in Cape Town, South Africa. Their aim was to simulate a flash mob; a staged but seemingly spontaneous performance.
BMW wouldn’t launch the video as a commercial, but pushed it out through /DRIVE, a popular YouTube channel dedicated to cars. The drift mob was part of a proposed new social media marketing strategy for BMW. Up until that point, the company had done a reasonable job with the first wave of social media tools.
“Of course we’re on Facebook, Twitter . . . ” says Sebastian Schwiening, a 29-year-old digital marketing manager. He started at BMW in 2010, fresh out of the University of Kiel business school in Germany.
The video worked because it was a fun twist on something with a big fan following, says Dan Scholz, director of digital marketing at YouGov, a market research company in New York. Scholz called the epic drift mob “perfect” for people like him who are interested in cars. He also says the drift mob is an interesting twist on drifting, a phenomenon on YouTube that draws tens of millions of views.
Scholz says it’s hard to measure the impact of social media engagement on sales, but YouGov’s BrandIndex Meter suggests the epic drift mob has increased word of mouth chatter about the brand, as well as the possibility of buying a BMW car by millennials.
Read the entire article here.