Behaviour Change

PROPAGANDA FOR CHANGE is a project created by the students of Behaviour Change (ps359) and Professor Thomas Hills @thomhills at the Psychology Department of the University of Warwick. This work was supported by funding from Warwick's Institute for Advanced Teaching and Learning.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

BMW comercial: Do you enjoy driving?

BMW is one of the most successful luxury brands of the market. It has maintained a consistent and respected image through years and its marketing techniques on their advertisements have a lot to do with it.

This particular commercial is centered on the emotions that driving provides you and these emotions are associated to the name of the brand. Heath, Brandt and Nairn (2006) carried out two experimental studies in which they proved the powerful effects that emotional power commercials have over more cognitive ones. They contrasted cognitive-power commercials with others that highlight a more emotional-power and also investigated the influence of emotional awareness on advertisements and how it affects the consumer. 23 American Ads and 20 British Ads were shown to the participants and later on, they were asked to rate them on a favorability scale. They found a strong positive relationship between emotive power Ads and favorability shift. In a further investigation on this emotional spots, they found out that the less aware consumers were of the emotional elements of the commercial, the more effect it had.

This particular spot of BMW is a really good example of the two discoveries of this research. It doesn’t involve a cognitive or rational persuasive technique but it is full of high levels of emotional content that look for the transmission of the enjoyable feelings of driving. At the same time, the emotional elements of the commercial (the landscape, the music, the story and the message of the Ad) are subtle patterns that evoke a reaction in the viewer, giving them less opportunities to rationalize, evaluate or contradict its potency. 
Finally,  all these feelings are associated to the brand symbol and its main slogan: Do you enjoy driving? Provoking a strong desire to drive.

Heath, R., Brandt, D., Nairn, A. (2006). Journal of Advertising Research.


  1. Nice discussion of Heath et al. Supposing you were the advertiser for BMW, would you have chosen this as the best possible way to persuade/recruit potential buyers?

    1. Probably not, as no specific characteristic of the brand is highlighted. They are not trying to sell anything in particular that could persuade the buyers. The viewer can see this commercial and get the feeling of how happy he is with his Volkswagen Polo when he travels alone through the mountains and how he enjoys letting his hand out feeling the wind. No necessity of buying a BMW is created in the audience.

    2. probably what mercedes tried to emphasize here is a general positive experience associating with driving BMW. Sometimes the company does not only produce ad for the purpose of selling a particular object, but also maintaining its brand image. so i think maybe this is the case.

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