On the first of April 2015, BMW ran a small-space ad in the local Newspaper, a coupon for an April Fools’ Special. The coupon stated that the first person to bring it into the dealership could swap their old car, whatever it was, for a brand new BMW. This coupon might sound like a prank, but it was, in fact, a Reverse April Fools’. A test, to see who would risk looking like the ultimate fool, for the ultimate car. For once, on April Fools' day we actually did what we said we were going to do. Rather than rewarding the cynical and making a fool out of those who take a chance. We made the people who didn't want to look like a fool, look like the fools. We gave away a free BMW, and we did it by using the oldest promotional mechanic - coupon.
Describe the brief from the client:
April fools’ day is one of advertising’s biggest events, especially for BMW, who has one of the longest corporate histories of April Foolery in the world. But with so many brands now taking part, April Fools' had become predictable and gimmicky. . BMW asked us to create an April Fools’ stunt that would receive international attention for a very small budget. So we decided to make something that didn’t end in a groan and an eye roll but instead surprised even the most cynical. Our strategy was to stand out from the crowd, by doing something completely different.
Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results:
It worked. We had one car to give away and by 7:30am it was gone. Tianna Marsh risked looking like a fool and was rewarded with a brand new BMW (with five years free insurance), after handing over her keys to her old Nissan. The story quickly spread around the world gaining $20,403,170 worth of earned media. Videos of the stunt have been viewed by over 5,800,000 people. And we reached millions of people worldwide with 284,125,194 million impressions. All that from just one tiny newspaper coupon.
Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service:
The creative execution wasn’t relevant to the product at all. That’s what made it work. We wanted this to feel as much like an April Fools’ joke as possible. BMW is an expensive luxury brand; this helped add to the feeling that it must be a prank. Who would believe that we were giving away a luxury European car for practically nothing? To push this even further, we used the Traditional April Fools’ medium, the newspaper and even turned it into a coupon, something a luxury brand like BMW would never do. The marketing plan was simple. Run the ad, set up hidden cameras, make everything appear normal, and then wait and see if someone turned up. Later that day we used PR and social media to spread the story.