This October, BMW of North America, LLC launched the teaser phase of an aggressive marketing campaign for the company's newest entry into the Sports Activity genre by placing state-of-the-art wireless kiosks in public spaces throughout key markets.
The kiosks -- which utilize an innovative wireless technology to connect to the Internet -- have been designed in the shape of surfboards as a nod to the active lifestyles of the vehicle's prospective purchasers, according to BMW.
The surfboard-shaped kiosks will familiarize prospects with the X3 Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) and create buzz for its launch in late November. The unit's interactive touch screen gives users control, allowing them to explore various X3 features. Full-screen, high-resolution video clips dramatize the X3 marketing theme: "Any weather. Any corner. Any pace. Any passion."
Interested prospects can then fill out an online form requesting more information about the X3 and the prospect's contact information is then sent via the Internet to BMW for follow-up. Advanced wireless technology allows the kiosks to get an Internet connection virtually anywhere. Once connected, BMW can also update the kiosks with new video material, observe in real time the content that interests users, and monitor the health of each unit's hardware and software.
In an attempt to reach a new audience -- one with a passion for performance and a need for space, but at a lower price point than BMW's other Sports Activity Vehicle, the X5 -- BMW is taking a bold step in placing the wireless kiosks in highly trafficked public spaces, including Wyndam Hotels, the Jet Blue terminal in John F. Kennedy Airport, and ESPN Zone and Virgin Megastores in New York City. The kiosks, dubbed X3 Lite by BMW, will be placed in 200 similarly high traffic areas around the country. The X3 program will also be deployed on BMW's existing kiosks in BMW Center showrooms.
"With the X3, BMW is truly expanding our potential audience," said Thomas Salkowsky, Manager Consumer Events, BMW of North America, LLC. "The X3 buyer will have the same passion for performance as that of a 5 Series or 7 Series driver, but will couple that with a need for space to carry snowboards, mountain bikes, or yes, surfboards. We are giving them both, at much lower price point than our other Sports Activity Vehicle.
"When embarking on a marketing campaign for the X3, we felt strongly that the personality of the campaign had to reflect the personality of this vehicle -- and does it ever have personality," Salkowsky said. "The X3 Lite Kiosks are just the beginning of what we hope will be a fun, evocative campaign."
"The entire X3 program was carefully designed to be visually compelling without audio," said Kim Takal, president of Reality Pictures, the company that produced all of the kiosk's interactive content, and a BMW partner for the last 17 years. "We wanted those X3 kiosks to be effective even when they are surrounded by all the competing audio and ambient noise we expect to find in public space environments. Reality edited all 10 films, which range in length from 30 seconds to two minutes, with the audio in the edit room off to make very sure the visuals were strong enough to make that happen," he added.
"Inspired by the X3, we also wanted these kiosks to be versatile," Takal said. "We conceived the surfboard design as a large, removable graphic panel which could easily be customized to fit any program simply by sliding the old graphic out and replacing it with a new face."
By engineering and refining the preliminary BMW/Reality Pictures kiosk concept, Frank Mayer & Associates, Inc. was able to develop a sleek, innovative design that not only incorporated the large, updateable graphic panel on the front of the unit but also, in the spirit of the X3's versatility, enhanced the design further by adding the unique capability to fold down and fit in the back of an X3 SAV. This feature made the kiosks easily transportable by non-professionals adding flexibility that insured that they could be deployed and redeployed when necessary in a variety of locations.
In the production version, the BMW Wireless Kiosk is a powdercoated metal structure with a small shelf in front that makes it especially convenient for consumers to use the 17-inch touch-screen monitor, provided by Dedicated Computing. Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc. also integrated the hardware and software into the units and drop-shipped them to their final destinations.
"We put these units through a very rigorous quality testing procedure during the integration and production process in our facility to ensure reliability and durability in the field", noted Mike Mayer, president of Frank Mayer and Associates, Inc.
The BMW X3 wireless kiosks use software from Netkey, Inc. of Branford, Conn., to collect prospect names and to remotely manage the entire X3 kiosk network, insuring maximum reliability and performance. Netkey, Inc. also developed the wireless system and software infrastructure that allows BMW to quickly deploy new content into kiosks on the network. It's the same software BMW uses in its Virtual Sales Center kiosks, found in BMW Centers nationwide.
"The cutting-edge capability of the X3 Lite kiosks provides BMW with a marketing tool that communicates the attributes of the X3: spontaneity, versatility and agility and is, at the same time, in its design and advanced technology, very consistent with the values of the BMW brand," said V. Miller Newton, CEO of Netkey, Inc. "BMW's marketing team has created an amazing medium. It's flexible, mobile, collects data and is easily updated. And they can put it anywhere they think appropriate."
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America has been present in the United States since 1975. Since then, the BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales and financial service organizations for the BMW and MINI brands and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, an industrial design firm in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.
BMW Manufacturing Corp. in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all Z4 roadster and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 340 BMW car, 327 BMW Sports Activity Vehicle, 148 BMW Motorcycle retailers, and 73 MINI dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North, Central and South America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at www.bmwusa.com
, and www.rolls-roycemotorcars.com