BMW makes a permanent buy on WeChat

Chasing ubiquity in the Chinese-Canadian market, BMW is establishing what it calls an 'ever-green' presence on the app.
BMW WeChat

BMW has made a massive buy on social and communication app WeChat, establishing a permanent presence through display advertising, as part of an effort to stay relevant and engaged with the Chinese-Canadian community.

It’s part of an integrated campaign designed by BMW Canada’s multicultural marketing agency, Balmoral. The campaign also includes social advertising, PR, content and influencer marketing, with North Strategic handling PR.

The media buy for the broader campaign was handled by Media Experts, although Balmoral handled the WeChat buy. Johnson Chang, VP of digital at Balmoral, explains to MiC that in the Chinese-Canadian community, WeChat is much more than just a social app. “For Chinese people, it’s really their entire life. There’s the social media aspect of it, but you can use it to book appointments, use it for mobile tickets… in China, they use it to call a taxi. A lot of Chinese restaurants and grocers accept it for mobile payments – luxury brands are now taking WeChat Pay and AliPay. There are so many things it does to retain you in the app.”

In Canada, there are more than 750,000 WeChat users, with a mostly male balance (63%). Household incomes of users are described as “higher than average” by the company.

Chang says BMW is the first brand to do an indefinite buy on the app, but says the agency is aiming to bring more advertisers, especially luxury retailers, into WeChat, because of its ubiquity across various facets of life for Chinese-Canadian people. “Our focus has always been around the journey of the Chinese immigrant at different life stages, from students to new families. It’s an opportunity we’d like to see more luxury clients pursue.”

Pursuing the Chinese community is nothing new for BMW Canada, says Chang, but the WeChat buy is.