BMW has had some great commercials over the years, and has even waded (pretty deeply) into film with efforts like The Hire and more recent big-screen, big-budget action movies. As car advertising has become somewhat homogenized in recent years though, it seems like it’s been a struggle for automakers to diversify and differentiate their messages. I am an admitted car enthusiast, and I cannot think of many memorable auto commercials over the past few years beyond just a handful that truly stand out.

Going back a bit further though, there are a couple of BMW commercials may very well have been part of forming my obsession with the automaker. These are commercials that I was first exposed to when I was just beginning to appreciate vehicles like the 3 Series, or the M range, and they helped solidify my decision to indulge in something I had previously been trying to justify. There is something about the raw emotional appeal as well, and how it spoke directly to me, saying that BMW is doesn’t just make cars for the point A to B commuters in the world, but rather those with a bit more passion.

I first saw this 3 Series commercial while watching Mad Men of all shows. It instantly caught my attention the first time it aired on the screen, and I specifically waited through the rest of the commercial breaks in hopes of watching it again for a better look. The ad pulled directly at my emotions, as it perfectly illustrated just how special the lifestyle that surrounds enthusiast BMW ownership can be.

Another favorite of mine is this memorable one about the E39 M5. What’s incredible is that the M5 appears for just a few brief moments at the end of the commercial, but that’s all is truly necessary to drive the point home. Something thing about the portrayal of speed, the sound and music, and how real the hole thing felt in the early 2000s was just otherworldly, sort of like the E39 M5, which has no doubt achieved legend status.

More recently, I’ve enjoyed BMW’s M Town ad campaign, which is pretty captivating if not a bit over the top at times, while the automaker wishing former Mercedes-Benz CEO Dieter Zetsche a happy retirement via a YouTube video was also pretty clever. What are your favorite or most memorable BMW commercials from over the years?—Alex Tock




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