Joy is BMW – Marketing Innovation or Marketing Failure?

Joy is BMW - Marketing Innovation or Marketing Failure?I came across the following video of a BMW advertising installation thanks to a tweet from Blogging Innovation contributor @RowanGibson and I think it serves as a perfect case study of how one firm – in this case BMW – can succeed and fail in utilizing some of the modern incremental innovations in the traditional marketing methods (including social media) to bond itself to an emotion – in this case ‘joy’.

First, watch the video, then we’ll examine where BMW has done well and where they have failed to harness the power of social media in creating the perception that ‘Joy is BMW’.


1. BMW attempts to stake a claim to an emotion (joy) that no other car company is pursuing
2. The video has already had 115,000 views in one week
3. Lots of people are re-tweeting the video and including ‘BMW’ and ‘joy’ in their tweets on Twitter


1. If you do a search on Google, Bing, or Yahoo! for “joy” – BMW is not in the top ten search results
2. Compounding this failure is that BMW is not doing any search engine marketing on the term “joy”
3. The startup video was herky-jerky after waiting a long time for it to load on the Joy is BMW page
4. The ‘Joy is BMW’ page is boring, not search engine friendly, and not social – there is no way for people to participate – no real value to the page
5. The 3D building projection event from Singapore is not featured on the ‘Joy is BMW’ page
6. There is no way for people to have conversations about the video (other than on YouTube)
7. BMW is not active on Twitter and makes no mention of Singapore event or ‘Joy is BMW’ campaign
8. No videos or photos related to ‘Joy is BMW’ on Facebook or mention of it by any of their 679,000+ fans
9. not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign
10. also not purchased by BMW before launching the campaign

Unfortunately the failures list could be much longer, but I will stop here in the interest of brevity. The really sad thing about the ‘Joy is BMW’ campaign is that people want to be more social with BMW, they crave it, but they are not really being provided the opportunity.

To be honest, after watching the video of the experiential event I was expecting BMW to have created this forward-thinking integrated conversational marketing campaign to go with it, so imagine my surprise when the emperor’s new clothes fell off when I started looking around the social media universe.

BMW, there is still time to save the campaign. If you need some help (which it looks like you do), let me know and I’ll be happy to jump in, line up some great creative teams around the world, and knock out a great conversational marketing strategy to salvage the campaign.

What do you think? Has BMW blown a golden opportunity to go social with ‘Joy is BMW’?

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Braden KelleyBraden Kelley is the editor of Blogging Innovation and founder of Business Strategy Innovation, a consultancy focusing on innovation and marketing strategy. Braden is also @innovate on Twitter.

Braden Kelley

Braden Kelley is a Design Thinking, Innovation and Transformation Consultant, a popular innovation speaker and workshop leader, and helps companies use Human-Centered Change™ to beat the 70% change failure rate. He is the author of Charting Change from Palgrave Macmillan and Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire from John Wiley & Sons. Braden has been advising companies since 1996, while living and working in England, Germany, and the United States. Braden earned his MBA from top-rated London Business School. Follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.




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No Comments

  1. Jose Palomino on June 3, 2010 at 8:56 am

    An example of an excellent idea that has been poorly executed so far. Marketing is about reaching out to a specific audience who is or can be passionate about your brand. I think you gave a good list of reasons why this campaign is a current failure, and that companies like BMW should be reading this. It’s such a waste to see good ideas come to a stop when they aren’t carried out in a way that touches its intended market.

    Big ideas lose their potential to become great when they don’t reach those who can pass them on, build momentum, and make that initial spark catch brilliant flame. Metaphors aside, companies and their agencies are responsible for translating their initial ideas into something their market can consume. Concepts should not stop at just being new and exciting. They should also be relatable, relevant, and useful as well.

    I think BMW should pay attention, listen, and salvage this idea from being forgotten. Potential is nothing without opportunity. It’s every good marketer’s job to open doors for their brands and customers.

  2. James on June 4, 2010 at 12:52 am

    So are you saying people won’t talk about it, understand it or pass it along simply because there is no apparent, formal social media strategy? Does every conversation in a Singaporean pub about bmw and joy need to prompted by a social media strategy?

    I hear what your saying about missed opportunities,and I agree, but not maximising the potential result doesn’t make it a fail. At least BMW seems to be thinking about how to change conversations without using the blunt force of paid for advertising.

  3. David Mottershead on June 8, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    I would commend BMW on being able to articulate what they stand for in a single word – Joy. The word Joy can now become a strategy, in that, everything the company does is aligned to and done for Joy (of their customers). They are now able to question the very existence of the work that is done within their organisation and if it doesn’t contribute to Joy, then they can stop doing it and in doing so reduce costs.

    Think about the success of some of the companies have articulated their strategy in a simple phrase; EasyJet – bums on seats, Hallmark Cards – expression, Disney – joy, Zara – style and comfort, China Mobile – connectivity.

    Just put yourself on the executive of a large multi-national and look at the complexity of the current strategy which often includes details of running the business, strengthening market position, satisfying customers and achieving performance targets. Now, just imagine if you could articulate all that strategy in a single word.

  4. Kelly on July 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Some good points here. Just curious, how is this billboard “interactive.” Did I miss something? In what ways was the audience allowed to participate, engage and pass along? Aside from just being present and capturing the event? How simple would it have been to ask others what “joy is …” and present that on the billboard

  5. juan manuel on April 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

    lo que mas me gusta, es conducir un coche. esto lo dije en una entrevista hace unos años y ahora se me ocurrio otro, ya que lo anterior esta muy oido, pero, no hay manera de contactar con los responsables. en fin, hay mucho interesado de que no entren ideas de fuera. hace tiempo tuve un proyecto que encajaba con coca cola, pero no supe como hacer llegar mi idea, ahora se me ocurrio uno para bmw y me ocurre lo mismo. un saludo.

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