SBD/January 3, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

BMW Builds Olympic Bobsleds, Produces Documentary About Project For NBC

BMW's documentary on the bobsled project will air Sunday on NBC
BMW of North America has "built six two-person bobsleds" for the U.S. men’s and women’s teams competing in the Sochi Games, according to Andrew Newman of the N.Y. TIMES. The automaker has been working with the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation since '11 "to develop a prototype." The effort has "been led by Michael Scully, a creative director at DesignworksUSA, a consultancy owned by the BMW Group." On Sunday, a "documentary about the project, 'Driving on Ice,' will air on NBC." While BMW "produced the documentary and is paying for it to air as part of an advertising contract with the network, it has the narrative arc and tone of an independent documentary, not a commercial." The documentary shows how Scully, who "in the past has designed racecars, adapts his expertise to bobsleds, which present aerodynamic challenges including being sideways in turns." Introduced during the commercial breaks for the documentary "will be two new Olympic-themed spots for the brand, with one featuring video of the bobsled being developed and no BMW vehicles, and the other taking a more traditional approach, with the automaker’s cars and SUV’s driving along snowy roads to transport athletes to training sessions." TV and digital advertising for the campaign, as well as social media strategy, is by Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, N.Y., part of MDC. Production of the documentary is by UM Studios, the "content arm of Universal McCann, which is part of the Interpublic Group of Companies." BMW of North America VP/Marketing Trudy Hardy said, "The way we entered this sponsored relationship is much deeper than the rights to the rings. We wanted to find ways to make our athletes’ performance better" (N.Y. TIMES, 1/3).
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