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X2 World Debut

Challenge: The world debut of the X2 coincided with (and was emblematic of) a difficult point in BMW’s history. The brand was reinventing itself, which met with a great deal of negativity. So how would we turn this awkward period of self-examination into a positive?


Solution: We put the X2—a vehicle that doesn’t conform to the traditional image of BMW—in the thick of a vibrant, creative Detroit, an image that doesn’t conform to the traditional view of the city held by those of us outside of southeast Michigan. Thanks to Detroit-based photographer Marc Urbano, it was a great display of not only how BMW has successfully reassessed its place in the world, but of how Detroit has done the same.


Result: An Instagram-based campaign with an engagement rate 42% above baseline, Munich HQ glomming onto the project once they realized what we were up to, and changed perceptions of the X2—and Detroit. It’s on that last point that I claim a personal triumph, too. I don’t know anything about Detroit, but I always felt those of us on the coasts had given it short shrift. I wanted to show it as something other than the RoboCop hellscape outsiders thought it was—a resourceful, resilient, resurgent place. We did that, and I’m very glad we did. Looking at things a bit differently is the driving ethos behind #BMWlens after all.

© 2020 Phillip McCarthy