Men: The Media Company: BMW 525i



This is an expensive car (starting at $59K) that ‘really appeals to upscale men who like to drive,’ says Jeanne Northcote, SVP at The Media Company, to explain the BMW’s 525i media strategy. The goal was to highlight the X drive (all-wheel drive) capability of the new model in the advertising and ultimately boost sales.

Target consumer

* The urban-dwelling ‘middle manager’ (executives, entrepreneurs) with relatively high income

* No set age, per se. It’s ‘more an income and a mind-set,’ says Northcote, adding that ‘they have to be to some extent proud of what they’ve accomplished in their lives.’

Consumer insights

‘[The new insight was] these guys love to drive, and because they love to drive, they’re driving to work,’ says Northcote. ‘So when we were looking for touch points, we thought we could build a lot of frequency against them by just going into the routes that they take to work.’

The strategy also aimed to fulfill the target’s emotional needs with enough rationalization to back a decision to buy, as well as communicate the idea that there’s no need to settle for any less.

Media touch points

* Online (banner ads as well as microsite)

* Billboards on the way to work

* Billboards on the way to the airport; magazine insert in Air Canada’s in-flight magazine enRoute; 15-second spots on

Air Canada in-flight television programs

* Radio spots on business-type stations such as 680News

* Parking garages

* Elevator advertising

* Esso gas pumps


The Media Company’s plan, which was unfurled in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver from July to September 2005, enveloped the target during his workday routine. Where The Media Company could, the idea was to tie the message to the medium. So ads in the elevators would read: ‘A better way to elevate yourself’ or ‘You’ll be tempted again tomorrow.’

Once at his desk, the target would see sponsorship banners on the Globe and Mail site ( as well as ads in the paper.

At day’s end, he would encounter dealer ads at Esso gas stations or if he had to fly out of town, billboards on way to the airport, and ads in enRoute as well as on Air Canada’s in-flight TV programming.


* BMW exceeded their sales goals by 26.9% for the year, the best increase against sedans


The Media Company

John Ware, account director

Katie Mateer, associate account director

Adam Gaudet, assistant media executive

BMW Canada

Joe Lawrence, director, marketing

John Capella, brand communication manager

Matt Robertson, marketing

communications specialist

Cundari Integrated Advertising

Fred Roberts, VP/CD

Rob Gendron, copywriter

Richard Martella, art director

Robert Lewocz, VP account service

Paul Curtin, account director

Lisa Prokop, senior account executive


John Ware, account director, The Media Company

One reason this campaign worked, says John Ware, account director at The Media Company, was that the car became an aspect of the media campaign. From filling up at the gas station to dropping the car off in the parking lot, the idea that BMW could make the entire driving experience better was an insight that seemed to resonate. ‘Before [the target] start their day they’ve already touched BMW [communication] three times,’ says Ware of the execution.

After 10 years in the industry, he says the most important trend he’s noticed is the desire for media agencies to move beyond just research and hammer out a compelling consumer insight that connects. ‘[It's no longer] just: ‘You have to be 100 GRP in TV or 60% reach in magazine.’ Everything starts with the consumer and the insight,’ he says.

And it’s an aim made more attainable when all aspects of the client’s business are at the table from the very beginning, he adds. ‘I like when clients bring the whole team…. It’s then [that] you get a whole picture of how your part fits with the overall mix.’