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BMW MMS Ad Campaign Generates $45M in Revenue

By Jason Grigsby

Published on December 17th, 2008


We hear a lot of stories about the power of mobile advertising, in particular text messaging advertising and despite that fact, we’re still in awe of how BMW turned approximately $60k in MMS ads into $45M in revenue.

The ad campaign was for winter tires and targeted to Germans who had bought their cars during the summer months. Because it is nearly impossible to make it through the winter without snow tires in Germany, BMW knew they would have an interested audience.

The ad itself was very innovative as Tomi Ahonen describes:

So BMW designed an MMS campaign, where they customized the picture of the car to be the model of the car that the customer had, and the colour of the car, with the wheel rims that the customer had bought. Then BMW virtually fitted the suggested winter tyre for that car and wheel. And this image was to be sent to the customer.

…Because this was mobile, BMW had prepared the campaign, and waited for the exact right moment. The day the first snow started to fall in Germany, that was when the MMS messages went out.

And best of all, the MMS message included a link to come to BMW’s mobile website, to select alternate tyres (and wheel rims) to upload to the tyre simulator, so that the customer could experiment with other variations and see their prices and compare.

What a great advertising campaign. Timely. Personalized. And immediate via text messaging. Dave Winer once said that as advertising becomes more personalized and useful, that it stops becoming advertising and simply becomes information.

The results are astounding as shown in this breakdown by Ajit Jaokar:

Cost of winter tyres c. $700
Cost of tyres & rims c. $2500
Approximate average sale $1300

Total potential customers: 117k
30% response rate = 35,000 customersHence, 35,000 customers spending $1300 each = $45,500,000

Given that the cost of the campaign was approximately $60,000 – at German MMS rates, for each MMS sent, the average return on investment was 758 dollars.

$45 million dollars generated by a small amount of MMS advertising. Amazing.