|BMW: THE X2 PROJECT SANYUANLI
|Product / Service
|D05. Cultural Insight
|TBWA\BOLT SHANGHAI Shanghai, CHINA
|TBWA\BOLT SHANGHAI Shanghai, CHINA
|Idea Creation 2
|JUICE BEIJING Beijing, CHINA
|BLACK + CAMERON Shanghai, CHINA
|MOD PRODUCTION Shanghai, CHINA
|SMOOTH PRODUCTION Shanghai, CHINA
|FILMATE PRODUCTIONS Shanghai, CHINA
|BOLT BY TBWA Shanghai, CHINA
In China the BMW X2 is endearingly called the “shopping car”, synonymous with practicality. Not good for a model that is 5 years young and customers that are 5 years older. We leaned into the cultural label in China. If the X2 could not rid itself of being the grocery ‘shopping car’, then BMW would make shopping groceries the coolest thing to do. BMW took over the century old Sanyuanli wet market in Beijing and gave it a facelift inspired by X2, making it the most “instagrammable” shopping experience in town.
The BMW X2 is a second, not a first car – the car that is driven out to buy one’s groceries. In China the BMW X2 is endearingly called the “shopping car”, synonymous with practicality. Not good for a model that is 5 years young and customers that are 5 years older. At the time, younger customers under 35 years old were defecting to competing brands. If the X2 could not rid itself of the grocery ‘shopping car’ label, then BMW would make shopping groceries the coolest thing to do. We sought to shift perceptions of the new BMW X2 to a stylish car for young people to drive, not only for families that use it to for their daily groceries.
Welcome to the Sanyuanli by BMW X2. BMW took over the century old Sanyuanli wet market and gave it a facelift inspired by X2. BMW injected cool into the cultural conversation around the X2 and made it appealing to “instagrammers” and grocery shoppers alike. A complete takeover for the Sanyuanli was created including signposts, stalls, food packaging and apparel. BMW also launched its very own X2 shop which carried a limited run of fashionable collectibles. The Sanyuanli by BMW X2 became a magnet for influencers and celebrities, bringing an inspiring brand experience in a most unexpected place. Shopping with the BMW X2 was ‘Unapologetically Fashionable’. An item that belonged on the high-street or a Paris runway would ultimately be found where least expected, the Beijing Sanyuanli wet market.
To amplify the brand experience and create more widespread reach and engagement, BMW invited key lifestyle and fashion social media influencers to the market experience. These influencers were selected based on understanding China’s social platforms and the interests and motivations of our fashion conscious and ‘instagrammable’ experience seeking target audience. We made the experience ‘Unapologetically Fashionable’, an item that belonged on the high-street or a Paris runway would ultimately be found where least expected, the Sanyuanli wet market.
Creative out of home media and social content videos were used to communicate the initiative which was open to the public. Influencers were invited to experience the reinvented space and the collectibles within. The Sanyuanli wet market takeover experience was designed to inject cool into the cultural conversation around BMW X2 making it appealing to influential and everyday ‘instagrammers’. While this was a Beijing initiative, the impact of the experience resulted in homepage coverage on national social media, news, and style verticals across China, giving the previously unfashionable X2 coverage way beyond the typical car launch.
The BMW X2 became a word-of-mouth sensation. Influencers and consumers created content and shared on social media. In 3 days it drew 120 million views of the campaign’s hashtags, and 200,000 engagements on Weibo. The campaign also ranked No.1 on WeChat’s hot topic list after launch. Video views of the activation reached over 2 million across platforms. The activation attracted an average of over 10,000 visitors per day to the market. This work resulted in a lift of 1032% in BMW X2 model reputation, making it the ‘coolest grocery shopping car’ in town.
Five years on from when the BMW X2 was first launched in China, the car had become synonymous with practicality and fondly called the grocery ‘shopping car’. A label the X2 inherited due to its spaciousness which made it ideal for shopping. To shift this practical perception and make it inspiring to a younger audience, we sought to lean into this cultural insight in China and transform the new BMW X2 into a stylish car for young people to drive. To be appreciated by a younger audience we made the car ‘Unapologetically Fashionable’ and “instagram” worthy through a brand experience that people would want to share. By making the Sanyuanli market takeover the coolest shopping experience, our story went from the wet market to the mainstream. While still labelled a shopping car, the X2 became the coolest car to shop.