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David Bowie Is

Challenge: Take a somewhat disconnected sponsorship and media buy with the David Bowie Is exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, and turn it into a genuine partnership while highlighting the all-new X2.


Solution: Using the #BMWLens format that debuted at Detroit, we used Instagram to take our audience to some of the places in and around Greenwich Village that meant a lot to David Bowie personally. (He was a longtime New Yorker, after all.) Not only did that demonstrate that BMW had more than just a passing interest in the man, it provided a great urban backdrop to the X2 that differed sharply from how most manufacturers portray their vehicles.


As to extending this Lens into the physical space, we very deliberately shot in the middle of the day to draw attention, with the Aladdin Sane-inspired lightning bolts draped across our X2 pulling in anyone not already curious about the obvious production crew. We also included #ProjectUnfollow across the rear window, so when people took photos of the Bowie X2 (Ziggy, as we called it) they had a hashtag to use when sharing on social.


Result: In two days, our Manhattan- and Brooklyn-focused campaign resulted in over 130 UGC posts using #ProjectUnfollow. And despite a last-minute legal issue that forced us to remove “David Bowie Is” branding from the vehicle, the audience nevertheless made positive associations between the X2 and Bowie. Overall, sentiment was 93% positive, with favorable comments about the styling of the X2.

© 2021 Phillip McCarthy