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Holiday Mailer Promotes BMW 'Lifestyle'

Continuing a two-year practice, BMW of North America LLC this week will drop a holiday mail piece to customers who previously ordered BMW-themed products from BMWonline.com.

The German automaker is pushing apparel, accessories and gifts priced from $18 to $3,995. Longtime BMW agency S3, Boonton, NJ, printed 60,000 mailers for almost equal distribution via mail and to dealerships.

“BMW expects above-average results from this piece, given the targeted audience and upscale nature of the piece as well as the holiday drop,” said S3 president Denise M. Soltys.

A one-time drop, the four-color mailer is enclosed in a holiday bag-shaped envelope with wafer seal. The red and silver theme indicates a holiday feeling. It also is close to BMW's corporate visual signature of silver/gray.

Recipients are encouraged to place an order or call to receive the BMW Lifestyle catalog. They also can contact their local authorized dealer or visit the site at www.bmwonline.com.

The mailer picks a sampling of products from the lifestyle collection to appeal to both sexes, children and to athletic types. The list includes holiday ornaments, the BMW Q8.R racing bike, remote-controlled car models and the memory watch.

The mailer's headline reads, “Something for everyone on your list.” The envelope, which has a holiday ball peaking through a round window, proclaims, “BMW Lifestyle: Holiday shopping from start to finish.”

“We want to take advantage of the holiday timing and push after-market sales for BMW,” Soltys said.

Without doubt, this push carries a broader purpose. Creating a branding impression in gift givers and recipients is part of the picture. But it ties in with the larger issue: spurring sales of BMW's full-size automobiles.

It is no secret that selling to existing customers is far easier than to prospects. In line with that thinking, BMW tapped its database of BMWonline.com consumers who opted in to receive information from the company.

While the mailer puts new products in front of existing customers, it also encourages them to visit BMW dealers. The stores will have merchandise in stock. BMW owners therefore can shop while having their vehicles serviced. Or, people shopping for the real thing can take a memento home.

However, no overt attempt is made to encourage shoppers to upgrade to BMW cars, either in the mailer or the catalog.

BMW considers itself a leader in the “car couture segment,” Soltys said, with several lines targeted to different vehicles.

For example, the BMW Lifestyle collection for the new X3 sports utility is due for release in February. The accessories launch is timed with the car's debut, featuring items created in partnership with gear maker Salomon to highlight the sporty nature of that market.

BMW aims to apply the high-tech engineering to its lifestyle products as it does to its cars. Many of the items originate from BMW headquarters in Munich, Germany. But almost half are created by the U.S. subsidiary specifically for this market.

“They help extend the BMW experience by bringing it out of the vehicle and into the lifestyle, and they appeal to future BMW owners as well,” Soltys said.

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