How on earth? Behind the Scenes at BMW UK’s Wild Horse Commercial

Galloping horses, stunt men, drone cameras and a beautiful new car

BMW is at it again. The German sports and touring cars are common enough on the horse scene, but the company’s marketing efforts involving horses are obscure enough that no one really knows what’s going on. But we’re all pleased that they choose to use horses to convey their message, right?

The latest message is from BMW UK, where a new agency, FCB Inferno, has launched its first commercial. BMW has a new electric sports car–with the emphasis on sports. The commercial however, is definitely about horses, or the experience of humans and horses coming together in the early days of civilization.

 It’s roughly 58 seconds of horses and two seconds of the car, which has the enticing effect of leaving you wanting to know more about the car.

But what about the galloping horses? BMW kindly provided a video about the video, and it turns out that the stunts really are stunts–no green walls or CGI horses for BMW.

This is quite a departure from BMW’s 2013 British ad. No doubt riding the wave of post-London Olympics dressage euphoria, this ad surely appealed to women, who seem to buy a lot of Beemers.

Elsewhere, we see a new print ad for BMW’s x5 with what appears to be a truckload of horses illuminated by a shaft of light (below) . First thought: this is a truckload of horses headed for slaughter.

Not exactly a mainstream marketing image.

But this is a print ad from a German agency, where horses bound for slaughter are lined up in regulated stanchions for long-distance transport. The horses in the ad are loose.

I think the metaphor is that they are power–horsepower–waiting to be turned loose. But wait, those little windows in the horse van look like the front grill of a BMW. Maybe there’s a message here, after all!

My favorite BMW ad ever was a simple one; a BMW SUV is driving away and instead of leaving tire tracks, it leaves hoof prints. Subtle, but brilliant.

A horse has probably never sold a car for a manufacturer. Ads don’t sell cars, they sell illusions of cars. But horses do get people to watch commercials and car manufacturers know that. The Washington Post reported last week that the Budweiser Clydesdale “Puppy Love” Super Bowl commercial came in at number 7 in the top ten most-viewed YouTube videos of the year.

Over 54 million people have watched it, although the Post called it “maudlin”.

Thank you, BMW, for using horses in your ads, for pushing the envelope, and for making me watch your commercials on YouTube and reach out to ask other people what they think they mean.

So, what do you think is going on in that truck?

To learn more:

You Tube has two great channels (and possibly more) where artistic horse commercials are featured. Pegase Buzz and La Cavaliere Masquee are two from Europe that probably have ones you haven’t seen before.




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