BMW launches first SMS campaign

An OOH display in downtown Toronto asks consumers to book a test drive via text message. BMW is pleased with the results so far, as well as the extreme ROI measurability.

BMW Canada has put a mobile twist on its traditional vehicle display outside the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. Videos looping on two 40′ TV screens of the Z4 Roadster invite customers to book a test drive by texting ‘drive’ to a provided digit. Initially launched on June 11 and running until Aug. 31, the conversion rate of those who text to those who actually go through the registration process and book is 12.5%, says Marc Belcourt, brand communications manager, BMW Canada.

‘That’s much higher than average results that our media partners shared with us. We’re very encouraged by that,’ says Belcourt. Although he could not share the actual number of test drives booked, Belcourt says the SMS campaign – a first for the luxury auto brand – is also highly measurable. BMW can sieve the figures from the number of impressions to passersby (12,000), to the number of people who text, right through to how many make a purchase.

‘I think if we isolate the SMS portion of the Z4 campaign, one of the major benefits for us is that we’re assessing how willing people are to interact with SMS campaigns and performance luxury vehicles,’ says Belcourt. ‘Therefore we know if people are willing to engage, how much information they’re willing to share with us and really who these people are.’

Developed by Cundari with the mobile marketing components managed by Toronto-based Vortex Mobile, the campaign for the Z4 is targeting consumers who have freedom to purchase a two-seater – from a mature empty-nester who’s looking for a second or third vehicle, to a younger demo without family responsibilities, says Belcourt.

Other components of the display are being credited with the success of the OOH execution – from the the bottom of the display being wrapped in a vibrantly coloured tire track design on an enormous canvas, to the making-of video for the ‘An Expression of Joy’ campaign. But it’s the mobile components that help determine the effectiveness.

‘Ultimately we can follow this customer from their initial text message to BMW right up until the delivery of their vehicle, if they choose to purchase,’ says Belcourt.