The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Seduce, Don’t Attack.
March 22, 2010, 6:09 am
Filed under: Comment

One of the things that always bugs me is when brands try and bash people over the head with 10,000 reasons why they should buy their product.

The most common mistake is that more often than not, the reasons they throw out have little to do with what will make someone buy, and all to do with what will make the brands marketing/R&D/management team feel good.

I know this shows how thick I am, but it’s only in the last few years I have actually realised why clients like having a “REASON TO BELIEVE” statement in all their briefs, because ultimately it lets them brag about what they’ve been doing for the last few years and feel they’ve done something of value or worth.

Of course research should prove that in many cases, the general public don’t give a flying fuck about the stitching on the piece of fabric or the AMR chip in their DVD … but as we all know, corporate ego beats common sense on many occasion which is why we now have consumer electronics ads where half the page is taken up with meaningless symbols just because the company needs to show off all the stuff they’ve been doing even if they can’t be arsed to explain what it does to benefit the purchaser.

The reason I bring this up is because Andy recently sent me the best used car ad I think I’ve ever seen.

No copy talking about 100 point inspections by highly trained engineers … no “we’ve been caring for drivers for 30 years” bland statements … no BMW are innovators in car technology ego bollocks … not even a trade-in or finance options chart … just the appreciation and acceptance that an ad is very unlikely to make someone go out and buy a used BMW on the spot, but – if done well – it could get interested parties to want to find out more and this ad does it brilliantly, thanks to understanding what to say and – more importantly – what to leave out.


37 Comments so far
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Excellent. 🙂

Comment by Noah Brier

Great post. Brilliant ad.

Comment by Pete

While I agree completely with your underlying point, I also recall this ad being discussed in the blogosphere a couple of years ago and the consensus was that women and fathers would really dislike it. I tend to agree with them too.

Comment by John

Brilliant thinking. Horrible ad.

Comment by John

She is fine.
Ad is good too…

Comment by Age

as per fucking usual the ad saves the planners sorry blog pondering ass.

Comment by andy@cynic


Comment by katiechatfield

on second thoughts- perfect

….if you want to say ‘the biggest douchebag in the room drives a second hand BMW’

Comment by katiechatfield

Evil Thought, but I’m sure it forces blokes to look at [evaluate]’second-hand’ in a different perspective.


Comment by bhaskar

Ashamedly, I hadn’t even thought about the issues Katie and John bring up (though I did think she was a bit too youn looking) but I also wonder if we would feel the same concerns if the ad featured a hot young guy?

Not really addressing the point raised by the guys, but one I’d like your thoughts on if you can be arsed.

PS: I think I should point out we didn’t do this ad, just incase you’re planning on sending letter bombs … and the overall issue I raise in the post still stands as far as I am concerned, even if the ad I used to demonstrate it could benefit from featuring a different talent and a change of copy perspective to make sure the “used woman” element wasn’t there for possible interpretation.

Comment by Rob

“the biggest douchebag in the room drives a second hand BMW”


and rob, you just highlighted my case in point from your post a couple of days ago about judging books by their covers. all of you just walked right into it.

ew indeed.

Comment by lauren

and can someone please explain to me the strategy about using the image of a woman on her back to sell cars? i still don’t understand, despite the years i’ve been hangin’ around with you planner kids..

is its something to do with the relationship between cars and power? cars and territory? cars and compensation for very small penises?

Comment by lauren

Lauren they’re selling the car they wished they lost their virginity in, instead of the beat up Pulsar they borrowed from their brother.

I can imagine this creative meeting – “hmmm to appeal to a douche we need to THINK like a douche … I’ve got it!”

Comment by Mandi

mandi, i can see that meeting too: jeans and sneakers all ’round.

i’m outta here….

Comment by lauren

We all agree it’s dodgy … and I accept there’s some bits I didn’t even think about which are both unsavory and proof I’m thick … but you know what, something tells me this wasn’t done with the intent to link in with teen girls or devaluing the female gender, I would bet it was simply a visual pun on a propostion that a bunch of [without doubt] men completely misjudged.

Sort of fucks up my point about doing communication based on what people want to hear rather than what companies want to say … but then BMW are German and we know what a bunch of pervs that race are. 😉

Comment by Rob

I used to drive a second hand BMW around..

Comment by niko

You’re appearing in the ad trying to attract the pink dollar then are you Niko? 🙂

Comment by Rob


am told i was not the type.. rumour has it is was political..something to do with a video they found of me an mercedes, a fiat and a bottle of break fluid..

Comment by niko

It doesn’t mean the first that night does it? Or it just the way my mind works?

Comment by northern

And I think the ad is great, and I do wonder if we need to get our knickers in a twist when it’s what its intended audience would mostly think.
Would like the to see the version for women though..

Comment by northern

As I said … I think some of the comments are fair, but not what the company intended and as I also said, I wonder if we’d all act like this if it was a young guy in the ad rather than a young woman.

Saying that, I still think the point I was attempting to make about doing ads for people, not company directors is valid and the difference between communication effectiveness and communication brainwashing.

Comment by Rob

think you just blew the lid off the Ireland campaign 🙂

Comment by niko

don’t you think calling anyone ‘used’ a bit off? don’t you think that this devalues the brand?

Comment by katiechatfield

Yes I do Katie … however I don’t know whether that was the intention of the creators of the ad [ie: to define people as ‘new’ or ‘used’] maybe it was more to link into the fact that the cars they are selling have been pre-owned and for someone who loves BMW’s but has not been able to afford them previously, the ‘used’ status doesn’t matter because you’ll love it just the same.

Maybe I’m over doing it – but potentially so is the anti-female sentiment, though I do accept the ‘talent’ in the ad is alarmingly young looking.

Comment by Rob

and you’re ok with calling anyone ‘pre owned’?

Comment by katiechatfield

No … and I’m not OK with men being labelled as idiots in a plethora of ads, women being classed as sex objects in beer ads or kids being told that only going to university makes them of worth either … however as someone else said in here, as much as certain things are questionable in the ad above, there’s far more openly wrong things in everyday television – and whilst that’s not a defence, it is about getting a perspecitve because I would view this more as a badly judged bit of copy than a blatant attempt to undermine the female gender.

Comment by Rob

I’m really struggling with your “best used car ad ever”.
It doesn’t make me want to know more- it makes me want to know less- ‘leave it out’ indeed.

Comment by katiechatfield

As I said Katie, when you made your comment I realised I’d missed a couple of things and that changed my view somewhat … however the point I was trying to make [which admitedly may have benefited from not using that ad] is that it is best to develop communication based on what the audience wants to hear rather than what the board of directors want to say.

Comment by Rob

A youngish guy might generate fewer complaints (though people complain about TV ads in the UK that characterise men as useless), but that would only be because of the position of men in society. It’s all about objectification – if you substituted someone like pamela anderson for the model, the tagline would be more fitting, but it would still be objectifying women.

As I emailed you – I don’t think BMW showrooms feature Pirelli calenders these days.

Comment by John

The “insight” is that used doesn’t have to mean inferior – it’s not that a shag’s a shag – which is what this ad implies.

Comment by John

would it really be that fucking much better if the line said “you know youre not the first to have loved her?” maybe but womens lib members arent bmw drivers, sad salesmen from fucking slough who live on mock tudor fucking housing estates are and so it seems pretty fucking right for them.

good point campbell if thered be as much comment if it was a guy. personally i think its more ford xr3i than beemer but its a fucking better ad than any other used car print ive seen and theres more sexist shit in an average 9pm watershed tv show as there is here.

i wouldnt buy a bmw if you fucking paid me but the idea that there are some things in life youd want regardless of their background is a good one even if they went with a news of the world style execution.

Comment by andy@cynic

Assuming the audience is either 50+ tossers or Andy, it’s perfect.

I agree with the point but find the ad (for this brand) off.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Is the audience always just the buyers? Clearly any sad salesman who had hoped to impress Katie with his new appendage might now reconsider.

Comment by John

so you think the ad is only for 50 year old tossers or me do you mortimer? so i take it youre saying the same can be said for most beer ads, mens mags and deodorant campaigns. didnt know loaded appealed to 60 year olds so im glad you put me right.

you think typical 30+ bmw drivers are the height of fucking sophistication do you then? well more of the fuckers read the sun than the times and drink wife beater than champagne so it might be off brand but its on fucking target.

its for 2nd hand beemers a very fucking different target than the new or fleet buyer. its totally off fucking brand but i bet it worked its arse off because dealers dont give a fuck about brand if the metal flies off the forecourt. that might be small minded thinking but sales is viewed quarterly not over fucking years.

Comment by andy@cynic

This ad gives me the creeps. Especially as the girl looks almost underage. My sense of what’s funny is pretty broad and black but I’m struggling to find this super clever. It’s eye roll material. And offensive.

Also, from a brand perspective, you could just ‘insert brand here’ there is nothing ownable in it.

Comment by Kate Richardson

fair point kate but from a brand perspective, most car ads have nothing fucking ownable in them either. scrap that. most fucking ads have nothing ownable in it except the overpriced fucking landor logo.

Comment by andy@cynic

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