When I was sent a link to yet another YouTube video in my inbox, it sat there awaiting a dull moment to be brought to digital life. Yet, when the moment came, I saw possibly the best promotional film for BMW Motorbikes you could wish for. But what made it so special was its author: as this wasn’t some fancy advert by Wieden+Kennedy, not a clever PR stunt by those chaps at Edelman, not even another nice idea never to be realised by a Central Saint Martins student.
This ‘ad’ was by the son of a dad, a boy’s homage to his father, a home video made up from 50 years of photographs from a shoebox.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a viral campaign for insurance, or a blog-tastic commercial for a man’s shower gel, but films which identify a life situation, and can honestly be at home in that territory are on another level. They connect with a tightly defined audience which resonates for years after. They become part of that person’s mind, at the forefront of their conscience, they become a headline act in that market for that group. They do more than merely entertain, they’re real.
Here’s the premise:
This is a photo story of my father’s 1958 BMW R50: Boy meets girl, gets married, buys motorcycle. Rides it for 60,000 miles and has accident when wife is pregnant with 3rd child. (me) Wife orders motorcycle to be taken off road until all her children are grown and on their own. One day when bike is moved to a different storage location, son sits on bike and dreams of being a Jedi Master like his father. Couple grows old together and bike is not ridden for 40 years. Husband is now a grandfather of 7 and married for 50 years, when he dies of a stroke at age 71.
Son looks over the old rotting machine and finds note attached to it from his father to him. Son decides to restore the old 1958 BMW R-50 as a tribute to his father. With the help of many friends, especially Peter Nettesheim, world renowned BMW collector, bike is restored to look even better than it did when it was built in Germany.”
(Updated) The track is by Pearl Jam, the brand is BMW Motorrad, and the boy (now man) has said he needs to pay $1,000 to licence the track. Pearl Jam’s record label have very kindly agreed for him to use it, but he must fund the $1,000 cost.
BMW, you’d be utter FOOLS not to get on this and champion the video, get it shown at Superbowl games, get it on UK news programmes, and ride the fame (pardon the pun) – I’ve not seen a more moving and perfect embodiment of a brand’s DNA for a long time.