BMW Launches Bizarre Marketing Campaign To Defend Its Ugly Car

BMW Launches Bizarre Marketing Campaign To Defend Its Ugly Car

The 2022 BMW iX, like many recent big-grilled automobiles from the Bavarian automaker, has drawn torrents of criticism for its polarising styling. But instead of just letting the complaints slide, BMW is defending the electric iX using a strange new marketing campaign called “What’s your reason not to change?” The automaker even uses the phrase “OK Boomer” on Twitter, and defended itself against a complaint that the vehicle looks like an “Allegro with squirrel teeth,” referring to an Austin model. Again, the whole thing is bizarre.

The iX is BMW’s upcoming flagship electric SUV, built on an all-new modular platform and promising impressive acceleration along with 483 km of range. But like a few other recent BMW designs, it’s got a tall grille that looks a bit buck-toothed. This, as you can read in the comments section of our article covering the vehicle’s debut, offended quite a few people. BMW knew this would happen, which is why the company got out in front of the criticism by launching an ad campaign to defend the car’s looks.

Photo: BMW

I made mention of this campaign in the initial debut post, embedding the commercial titled “What’s your reason not to change?” That spot, shown below, involves a narrator addressing various criticisms of BMW’s design — criticisms like “Can’t you make electric cars look like normal cars?” and “Looks like a low-budget ’80s sci-fi movie.”

In the video, the narrator responds: “Did we somehow start to feel uncomfortable with the unknown? Or have we just stopped being open for anything new?”

It’s an approach I plan to use the next time I’m on a date with someone clearly unimpressed by my receding hairline, shortish stature and face that looks like a mixture between Rick Moranis and Justin Long. “No, no,” I will exclaim as she prepares to get up from the dinner table, her face blue from her failing attempts to hold in the contents of her stomach. “I realise that you may find me hideous, but you just need to be more open-minded!”

I bet this will work great.

BMW is so keen on defending its iX that the brand tweeted the marketing slogan preceded by the expression “OK, Boomer” (see below). This seems like an even more questionable move than simply trying to convince people who find the design ugly that they’re being too narrow-minded. After all, despite their copious flaws as a group, Baby Boomers do have one thing that younger generations don’t: Money. And lots of it.

Dismissing that demographic with the phrase “OK, Boomer” seems like a questionable call to make, especially for a luxury automaker. But who knows, maybe BMW is banking on non-president Boomers not knowing how to use Twitter.

Photo: BMW

In that Twitter thread, the commenter who calls the new iX a “slit eyed Allegro with squirrel teeth” gets this response from BMW: “In order to go new ways you sometimes have to try new looks.”

It’s a bit of a sterile response to a hilarious criticism. I personally wish BMW would either, one, let it go and just be confident about the car’s styling or two, really lean into its defensive strategy. Tell that Austin Allegro guy that, You know what? The Allegro is actually a cool little car, and squirrel teeth really have a bad rap. So get bent.

But no, they came up with: “In order to go new ways you sometimes have to try new looks.” You’re hardly going to sway opinion with that.

Photo: BMW

It’s worth mentioning that the campaign “What’s your reason not to change?” isn’t just about the iX’s appearance, it’s actually focused on folks’ reluctance to adopt electric cars. On the campaign’s main webpage, you’ll find BMW’s answers to a number of questions that people have about EVs and their limitations. But of course, there’s still plenty about the iX’s design. Here’s a quote:

You will always have plenty of reasons to change.

But the truth is: It’s always easier to find a reason not to. It might not be the best time for you right now, or perhaps you find yourself in the wrong place. You might think that technology still hasn’t reached its peak, or that the design looks strange.

Here’s another:

The monolithic design with few, very precise lines demonstrates character and gives the car a modern appearance. The BMW iX is bold and yet clean and elegant.

Domagoj Dukec

Head of BMW Design

And another:

The BMW iX shows how we can give new technologies a very modern and emotional design.

[...]

Adrian van Hooydonk

Senior Vice President BMW Group Design

The whole thing is just bizarre. Trying to convince someone that your car isn’t hideous is an uphill battle, and you’re definitely not going to accomplish it with a lukewarm marketing strategy. If you’re set on defending your design, show that Austin Allegro guy who’s boss.