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BMW: CUNDARI'S CAMO VICE COVER AD

BMW: CUNDARI’S CAMO VICE COVER AD

Now you see it, now you don’t. Like a nocturnal animal, this unusual breed of BMW ad for its 1 Series, given cover placement in the April 2008 issue of Vice magazine, only comes out to play in the dark.

Like other nighttime creatures, the ad evolved to better do its job: stalking its 30- to 40-year-old social climbers at one of their favourite nesting grounds – the downtown club and lounge scene. In the absence of light, the smug, creepy looking girl and the Vice title disappear, replaced with a

glow-in-the-dark ad for the BMW 1 Series, with the 1 appearing where the ‘I’ in Vice usually does.

‘The strategy for the 1 Series was based on the target audience’s desire for short, intense experiences that could appear at various points of their fast-paced lives,’ explains Robert Lewocz, EVP at Toronto-based Cundari, the agency that genetically engineered this unique ‘adimal.’

Targeting a younger, much less conservative group than any other BMW target in the past, the autoco collaborated closely with Cundari, The Media Company and Vice magazine to execute the unusual format.

‘To engage this cynical, seen-it-all demographic, a combination of unexpected media, messaging and especially delivery proved to be effective,’ says Lewocz.

The opportunity to catch a glimpse of this glow-in-the-dark usurper was fleeting. It was distributed only briefly throughout clubs and lounges in Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and the GTA, Calgary, Whistler, B.C. and Vancouver. But, much akin to a questionable Yeti sighting, it left a distinguishable mark.

‘The result was grassroots and blog-generated buzz and well-earned credibility with a new target group,’ says Lewocz.

The effort is part of a seemingly cover-crazy ad strategy. BMW engineered an innovative inside cover execution in Maclean’s and L’Actualité news magazines this winter, depicting a diesel-powered BMW 3 Series model on a country road. Furthering BMW’s fondness for engineering, a tab on the side pulled out a sliding panel that extends the road. The caption read, ‘You’re going to need more road with 240 kilometres more performance in every tank.’

COVENANT HOUSE: TAXI’S HOLIDAY WISHES NOT A PRETTY PICTURE

Christmas is a time for well-wishing, presents and holiday rituals. Many families partake in one particular tradition: the sending out of Christmas portrait cards. They usually feature mom, dad, kid A, kid B, the dog; everyone’s smiling, possibly wearing Santa hats, all coming together to wish friends and loved ones a happy holiday. This, however, is not the case with the ‘family portraits’ featured in ads for Toronto’s Covenant House’s Christmas fundraising campaign.

The ads, developed to highlight the plight of homeless children over the Christmas season, drew attention to the dangers of life on the street by depicting very uncomfortable kids surrounded by unsavoury characters. Yes, it’s safe to say that these portraits aren’t Christmas-y at all. They’re actually quite disturbing. And that’s exactly the reaction that Toronto-based Taxi was going for when it created the campaign for the shelter for homeless kids to highlight a more pressing need for holiday giving.

‘It’s talking about the fact that if kids are having problems at home and they run away, they are going to be picked up by a new kind of ‘family,” explains Josie do Rego, director of development and communications at Covenant House.

The creative appeared in magazines and on digital signage and transit ads throughout Toronto in November. However, in an ironic turn of events, the creative itself wound up homeless for the holidays as it was pulled from market in December over feedback from a few Toronto residents decrying the ads as unsympathetic to adult homelessness.

‘It had nothing to do with the number of comments – we received more positive than negative,’ says do Rego. ‘It was that this particular concern did not align with who we are.’

If only the actual problem would disappear so easily.

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