It’s late-February 2018 and BMW are despatching the first batch of BMW M5s to the UK. The lucky owners of these ‘First Edition’ models will be treated to a number of bespoke features, such as: a special finish metallic paint; 20-inch, seven double-spoke design light-alloy wheels in black; the middle console houses a plaque with the number “M5 First Edition 1/400”, providing a stamp of exclusivity.

On Friday 23rd February 2018, BMW UK released a television commercial, showcasing the new car. The ad premiered on the company’s YouTube channel.

The new BMW M5 is an incredible landmark in the relentless pursuit of The Ultimate Driving Machine. Equipped with the revolutionary M xDrive system, it takes the thrill of the drive one step further.

BMW

So how does one go about promoting ‘The Ultimate Driving Machine’?

Having just 30 seconds in total to get a message across – as that’s the usual average TV spot length – the short clip had to portray the M5 the right way. Therefore, a desert, an open road and the stunning M5 were chosen to mix together and offer the viewer a proper infusion of adrenaline. The shots are cut extremely tight and offer the sensation of speed without going too far. The car is shown from every angle but we prefer the frames where the muscular rear and with its quad tailpipes are truly in focus.

BMW

A car filmed speeding through the desert; quick cut edits; car shown from every angle? Sounds like an excerpt from the spec for the title sequence of the hit 1980s TV show Knight Rider. And that’s essentially what we’ve got here – minus the power to captivate, which that show’s title sequence succeeded in doing for those of us who grew up in the 70s/80s. This ad is very plain – no visible sign of any noteworthy post-production enhancement. Unlike Knight Rider, no shots of the supposedly impressive interior features; nothing that would leave me reaching for rewind to go back for a closer look. This really is just raw footage of a car being driven – quite unspectacularly – across a desert road. Granted, it still looks moderately impressive but there are plenty of other cars out there that fall into that category.  The blurb from BMW suggests that the ad succeeds in accentuating some of the unique characteristics of the car. A petrol head might appreciate those features but I suspect most of the rest of the TV audience won’t bat an eye (though the speed of the cuts doesn’t help). Some sort of clever verbal or text-based promotion of the car’s special features is needed; the visuals don’t really do the talking here. Nothing memorable or attention-grabbing, no sense of prestige or power – and certainly no “infusion of adrenaline”. Just all rather underwhelming really.