Thomas Joos | mobile application developer

(re)create your thoughts and expand your limits.

The BMW Winter Tyres MMS campaign earned 45 million (!!) in additional business

with 5 comments


Via my colleague Erlend I came across this amazing BMW mobile marketing campaign in Germany. The BMW Winter Tyres MMS campaign earned 45 million (!!) in additional business. This tiny messaging campaign was not organized by a pornographer, or a crazy tones subscription provider, nor a phony voting scam on TV, nor some outrageously addictive social networking phenomenon. It was that ultimate driving machine company from Bayern, called BMW. The BWM Winter Tyres campaign is an excellent example of excellence in mobile marketing and advertising.

The campaign went out to only those BMW new-car buyers who bought their Beemer in the summer season in Germany. Out of all cars sold in 2007, BMW sold 117,000 to private citizens in the summer period (anyone who bought a BMW as part of a fleet, would have bulk buyers for their winter tyres). They decided to send out 117.000 MMS picture messages to all their customers, in order to inform them BMW was having a Winter Tyres action. It cost them approximately a total airtime of 60.000 US dollars. According to Ajit Jaokar, who did a nice analysis of the mathematics and economics of the campaign the BMW campaign received a 30% conversion rate (ie people actually showed up in a store, and made a purchase) which is an amazing number (internet advertising gets an average of 5% click-through rates..)

The cost of a set of winter tyres is 700 dollars, and average cost of tyres plus rims 2,500 dollars. According to the analysis, the average customer would spend approx 1,300 dollars. Multiplied by 30% of 117.000, this means that 35.000 customers ( who received the MMS message ) appeared at a registered BMW dealer and bought tyres and/or rims for their new cars.

Total earned by BMW out of this campaign = 45,500,000 million dollars. Comparing this to the total airtime cost of 60.000 dollars this means the following: The return of investment per single MMS ad transmitted was 758 dollars. Should we start questioning running television campaigns that cost millions and newspaper and magazine ad campaigns that run hundreds of thousands, with no way to measure their effect? Is this a win-win situation? BMW did a good job earning 45 million by a tiny MMS campaign and the customers who received an mms are feeling less spammed or bothered, they are being approached in a far more personal way and in this case they actually need this information! This campaign seems like a perfect match for both sides, no?


Written by vilebody

December 16, 2008 at 11:18 am

5 Responses

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  1. Pretty impressive, just wondering if this is a one-time scenario.

    There are some elements around that campain that narrow down the possibilities for it to happen again:
    1. BMW, the status of the brand (without stereotyping, I assume owners of a BMW are less distant to buy attitional stuff for their car)
    2. the focus here is an additional product (the tyres) for a purchase the customer made in the past and on top of that, he will get a discount for it.
    3. Let’s not forget that sending an MMS is way more personal than any TV add.
    4. Not many addvertising (from my own experience) happens through the medium of mobile phones. Overal, I think people just got used to personal letters or non-personal tv and internet adds… But what will happen if people get used to these mobile adds as well? Will they ingnore them at the same rate as those other mediums?

    What whould have been really interesting is to see if they did this same campain by sending emails adds to 50% of their customers and 50% by MMS. Just to figure out if it’s really the ‘mobile’ aspect here that did the job …


    December 16, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    • hi Frederik,

      I think the main reason for this success is the personal approach via MMS and the fact it was a kind of promotion for something bmw customers (actually everybody who ownes a car in Germany ) was legaly obliged to purchase. Other than that I think mobile advertising has already shown a higher ‘click-through’ rate ( 5 % vs 30% ) which is quite an amazing result. This answers your last question already, I think. If they had send an email they would not have had that many people showing up I guess, just because of this lower ‘click-through’ rate. It is an interesting question to see what will happen: after a while, are we going to ignore them at the same rate or not? One day we will discuss about the answer to that question I think :)

      Greets and thanks for your quick response


      December 16, 2008 at 2:15 pm

  2. I totally get the 5% vs 30% ‘click-through’ rate, but are we talking about emails or just internet advertising in general. As you mentioned, the success from this campaign is mainly because of the personal approach. So it would make a big difference if it’s just email (which is by it’s nature personal) that has a 5% ‘click-through’ rate or is it internet advertising in general (which is mostly not personal at all and represents itself under the form of ugly, often annoying banners…).

    (And thank you for this awesome blog!)


    December 16, 2008 at 2:35 pm

  3. Good point Frederik, I think the analysis meant a 5% click trough for non personal advertisement, in the form of banners etc.. I have no clue what the rate is on emails but i’ll try and find out. They will be higher then 5% but it would surprise me if it would be more than 15% :) I’ll keep you posted!

    (and no thanks, glad to have you coming over!)


    December 16, 2008 at 3:02 pm

  4. […] de BMW MMS Case, inverstering, 45 miljoen […]

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