American Marketer

Events / Causes

BMW elevates i3 model with golf championship presence

September 16, 2013


BMW of North America is increasing excitement for the Professional Golfers' Association's BMW Championship by incorporating the i3 model into different areas of the event Sept. 10-15.

Golfers Rory Mcllroy and Gary Woodland competed in an i3 driving challenge and the first player to hit a hole-in-one on the 17th hole will receive an i3. Since the i series will play a primary role in the brand's future, finding ways to incorporate it into traditional projects and events is helping the brand get the word out.

"Golf is a passion point for BMW owners, so it allows BMW to connect with them through their interests," said Stacy Morris, corporate communications manager of marketing and culture, BMW of North America, Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

"The BMW Championship is a great platform for BMW to showcase the brand and provide a premium experience for guests," she said.

Golf for education

The BMW championship began with a driving contest between Mr. Mcllroy and Mr. Woodland on a specially created course at Six Flags Great America, Chicago. In honor of the golfers, the brand made a $10,000 donation to the Evans Scholars Foundation.

Both golfers were two of the first people in the world to drive the i3 since the car’s global reveal on July 29. They were joined at the finish line by Evans Scholars Justin Cruz and Yesenia Juarez, both students at Northwestern University.

The 2013 BMW Championship will be played at Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, IL, where the top 70 players on the PGA Tour will compete for the FedExCup. All proceeds from the BMW Championship will benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation. Since 2007, the BMW Championship has raised more than $14 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation.

BMW Championship 2013

In addition to supporting the Evans Scholars Foundation through the BMW Championship, BMW of North America also provides a summer internship program for Evans Scholars to work for BMW.

BMW will provide a full four-year Evans Scholarship worth $100,000 in the name of the first player to score a hole-in-one on any hole during the tournament.

The first player to hit a hole-in-one on the 17th hole will receive a new BMW i3.

BMW Championship 2013

Also, the first player who achieves a hole-in-one on the 11th hole will receive a new, a new 4-door addition to the M Series line that successfully combines high performance, outstanding technology and the sensation of motor sports with interior room and amenities for up to five passengers.

Attractions for auto enthusiasts and fans at the championship include various models such as the i3, the Team USA bobsled and bobsledders Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz, a chance to win a BMW 3 Series Gran Turismo and much more.

Additionally, with the presentation of a valid veteran/military ID, active or retired military personnel will receive free admission to the BMW Championship, on any day of the tournament.

The i3 will launch in the US spring 2014.

Eyes open

BMW has positioned the i series near the front of the brand's identity.

The automaker is aiming to beat out the competition by pushing its i concept electric vehicles with the i3 set to be in-stock this year.

Since electric vehicles are a new product to many consumers, automakers that introduce them to consumers should develop strong marketing campaigns to convince consumers to buy the new technology. It seems that electric vehicles can help automakers get ahead of its competitors because there are more environmentally-conscious affluent consumers (see story).

In addition, BMW’s promotional campaigns for the i series has raised the bar for mobile advertising among luxury marketers when it released a campaign comprised of video content and Google Maps integration.

The ad showed the various i concept vehicles driving along the ad space and a Google Map of the area that the mobile user is in. A click-through led to a BMW Web site that gave users a virtual test drive of an i concept vehicle (see story).

By touting its i series at prominent events, the brand is asserting where a bulk of its future lies.

"Last year, the PGA TOUR named the 2012 BMW Championship its tournament of the year," Ms. Morris said

"Successful tournament activation, ticket and corporate sales, attention to detail and player amenities all played a significant role in the BMW Championship being named tournament of the year," she said.

Final take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York