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Arnold Schwarzenegger advertises BMW again

BMW continues its collaboration with Schwarzenegger. Last year's Super Bowl commercial is now followed by a funny YouTube video showing Arnie together with the CES concept car iVision Dee. And David Hasselhoff is there too.

The cooperation between BMW and Arnold Schwarzenegger for a Super Bowl commercial was not a one-off thing. Now the car manufacturer and the actor follow up with an almost seven-minute YouTube clip that follows the clip from 2022. "Arnie", who is still in the Zeus costume he wore in the commercial almost a year ago, is initially supposed to change into a motion-capturing suit. He doesn't really know how to deal with it, but he follows the instructions anyway and goes into the studio.

There a discussion with a female voice unfolds from the off. Schwarzenegger takes sides for the "good old days" while his counterpart praises the future. As the clip progresses, it becomes clear: Arnie's interlocutor is talking about a car from the future, namely the concept car iVision Dee that BMW is currently unveiling at CES. Together, the two develop the plot of a love film that begins in the past and leads to a happy ending in the future. By the way: David Hasselhoff and his talking miracle car K.I.T.T. have a highly self-ironic guest appearance.

Review: Super Bowl commercial 2022

After a seven-year break, BMW again ran a commercial in February 2022 at the final of the American Football League NFL. Based purely on the numbers, the success seems manageable: the one-minute film has so far collected 13 million views on YouTube on the official BMW USA channel (as of December 16, 2022). There are also clicks from other channels that also show the clip. As a reminder, here is the spot in which Arnold Schwarzenegger appears as Zeus and Salma Hayek Pinault as Hera:

Jens Thiemer, who switched from Mercedes to BMW at the turn of the year 2018/19, is mainly responsible for BMW's Super Bowl comeback. In a good five years as a marketing manager for the Swabians, he drove a number of successful Super Bowl campaigns. At BMW, in his role as Senior Vice President Customer & Brand, he personally campaigned for a comeback as an advertiser for the big football final. "I have to defend that strongly in the company," said Thiemer before the 2022 spot was broadcast, "some people will definitely look at the results."

As in 2015, BMW again advertised an electric car. This time for the iX, which was launched in the US shortly thereafter. The Californian aspect was also decisive: The Super Bowl LVI, as it was officially called, took place in the newly built football temple SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, in the greater Los Angeles area."This is THE American electric car market, and the BMW i brand has a strong connection to California anyway," said Thiemer at the time. Especially since Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the two acting stars committed to the commercial, was once the governor of the west coast state.

Salma Hayek Pinault was there too

The new spot definitely had more star power than the previous clip. Salma Hayek Pinault starred alongside Arnie as Hera, who noticed how boredom overtook her husband Zeus in his life as a retired Greek god in the US pensioners' paradise of Palm Springs. After considering how to get her husband's spirits back up, the BMW iX came into play. The car electrified Schwarzenegger, who then found joy in life again.

Just like his own superiors, Thiemer first had to make Schwarzenegger BMW's commitment to the Super Bowl palatable. "I put a lot of energy into convincing him," said the marketing expert. Ultimately, the story of the commercial convinced him. "He had a thieving pleasure playing along," admitted Thiemer, especially since an electric car was advertised in the spot. Thiemer found the governor to be authentic in his role above all because after his career as a competitive athlete, actor and politician he now acts as a fighter for the planet and climate protection. And the duo with Hayek was "a good combination in terms of depth and substance as well as entertainment value".

Enormous costs

BMW invested a lot of money for its big appearance in the Super Bowl environment. According to US trade media, a minute of advertising in 2022 cost around twelve million dollars (currently the equivalent of around 11.3 million euros). The year before, according to the Federal Statistical Office, it was 11.2 million dollars (about 10.5 million euros). "In addition, there are the production and activation costs. You have to budget for significantly more than doubling the pure switching costs," said Thiemer. Especially since BMW had a top director in Bryan Buckley, who had already implemented some highly decorated Super Bowl commercials. The leading agency, Goodby Silverstein & Partners, is BMW's regular advertising agency in the USA, but it certainly didn't get any poorer with its involvement in the project.

So BMW made a lot of advance payments for its Super Bowl comeback, both financially and in terms of effort. That's why Thiemer was clear: This is only justified if the spot is not only noticed by the almost 100 million television viewers in the USA, but also ends up in the top places in the rankings of the best Super Bowl commercials. Only then does it develop the desired viral power, circulate as widely as possible on the Internet and reach many times as many people there. "The things that don't ignite aren't looked at much, they disappear into obscurity," said Thiemer, quite rightly.


BMW's Super Bowl advertising plan doesn't seem to have worked out one hundred percent. 13 million people have watched the Schwarzenegger film on YouTube so far. For comparison: Volkswagen's legendary Super Bowl commercial "The Force" with a small Darth Vader and the US Passat in the leading roles, for example, quickly garnered three times as many YouTube clicks - and that was back in 2011! In the many rankings of the US media, BMW's Schwarzenegger commercial usually only ended up in the middle. Nevertheless, the partners are now following up with a YouTube film as part of the CES, which is intended to bridge the gap between the old and new car world in a self-deprecating and humorous way. We are excited to see how this clip will be received by the audience.


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