Bmw Launches New Ad Campaign for Performance Driving School

by : Anthony Fontanelle

BMW recently launched its new performance driving campaign that features offbeat characters from driving lessons past. The campaign, launched for the BMW Performance Driving School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, aims to bring the goals of the school to life by posing the query: "Who taught you to drive?"

BMW of North America will encourage drivers to consider how times have changed since their first lesson, and who taught them. Through non-branded micro-site and viral videos, BMW of North America in cooperation with Austin-based GSD&M, a leading marketing and communications company, tackled more than just what car to drive as it launches the "Relearn to Drive" campaign.

The campaign will take visitors to, zeroing in on the idea that much of what drivers originally learned was incorrect or no longer applies, and the BMW Performance Driving School is the place to correct those wrongs.

"Many drivers on the road today have not considered just how times -- and cars -- have changed since they learned to drive, and this campaign will serve as an entertaining wake-up call that perhaps we could all stand to learn something new," said Jack Pitney, Vice President, Marketing, BMW of North America. "Increasing awareness of the programs we offer at the BMW Performance Driving School will let people know there is a fun way to hone those skills we all may have to use one day, no matter what kind of car they drive."

The campaign appears in select auto and lifestyle publications, such as Roundel, Autoweek and Road and Track. It will also be published online via and YouTube and Google Video will also feature the campaign. What's more, it will be printed on postcards distributed at BMW events nationwide this summer. In addition, the campaign will also appear in The Onion, online and in print, as part of its sponsorship.

The "Relearn to Drive" website features videos of nine unconventional, panicky characters that capture the multitude of ways individuals may have been taught to drive. They include the following:

- Mom insists that her son must always use two feet when driving, despite what his father tells him;
- Dad, nervous with clipboard and checklist in hand, gives his son a strict lesson;
- Grandpa, dressed in his old military uniform, says it's time to teach his grandson to be a man, and driving a car is "just like driving a submarine -- except the car isn't packed with torpedoes;"

Visitors to the site will also be able to send customized email postcards with video to friends and family. In a separate section of the web site, information and high-quality video footage of the BMW Performance Driving School in action will be available.

The German automaker is famed for the manufacture of trusted BMW M5 parts and other auto accessories and equipment. "BMW's commitment to great ideas goes beyond engineering the best automobiles - they're dedicated to improving the entire driving experience," said John McGrath, vice president of Communications for GSD&M. "This interactive campaign is a humorous look at how most of us got started behind the wheel and highlights the opportunity to relearn those skills and upgrade the pleasure of driving."

The goal of the campaign is to increase awareness of the BMW Performance Center and BMW Performance Driving School - a 134-acre, high-tech driving facility set with closed courses, skid pad, water walls, and an off-road course. The Driving School offers several programs, including one- and two-day Driving Schools, one- and two-day Teen Driving schools, one- and two-day M Schools for high-performance driving, and an Advanced M School.