BMW: We Have Ways Of Making You Giggle

I  look forward to it every year. On April 1st it’s time for BMW’s marketing department to unlock their imagination and prey on the unsuspecting, who will more than likely read their way through until the very last printed word  before the penny drops.
This year wasn’t particularly vintage as far as Bayerische April Fools adverts go, but is still worth a restrained snigger or two. Click above for legibly-sized version if it isn’t running in your national press.
Sometimes BMW judge their seasonal releases very well indeed. Take the jump to be reminded of a few of the classics.

Sorry I couldn’t find a bigger version. If you’ve got one, please add it to the comments. Thanks!

The further back you go, the more delicious they are. The above, from the ’80s as evidenced by the E30 dashboard was obviously very much tuned for the UK market. Where else does the issue of the wheel being on the wrong side come up other than when tripping into mainland Europe from England? If this was run in the press anywhere else in Europe I can imagine every reader pondering “Why on Earth would I want to go to England?”
The best thing about these older examples of what became a BMW tradition years ago, was that they all seemed to be just about believable. The line drawings in the example above look like they could have been taken from an owners instruction manual.
When this much care is taken to create something, it indicates that somebody in the company, somewhere, is thinking about what they’re doing. The “Cross The Channel” release bears the hallmarks of a company-wide production. The marketing department must have spoken to the engineering department to have created the concept and the graphics to describe it, so it gives the impression overall of BMW being one big happy family.
Click for very slight enbiggenment

This one was my favourite. It was published when I was seven, at which point I had just learned to add windscreen wipers when I drew a picture of a car. I was fascinated by the existence of rear wipers on some cars I was seeing, and then I read that year’s BMW April Fools.
“More wipers!” must have been my jubilant exclamation. Yeah, OK, I was young, but I genuinely took this as read. BMWs were being fitted with wipers to keep their badges clean. I had absolutely no reason to disbelieve this; to me at that point BMW were an exotic brand; I was surrounded by Fords in my family. Why wouldn’t BMW have wipers to keep their badges clean?
I was grief-stricken when I found that it was a hoax, which I only discovered when I visited a BMW dealership and asked the nice man where the badge wipers were; I don’t remember his response. But I look at the advertisement today and it still looks pretty convincing, right down to the tiny washer jet.
I’m really glad they keep this tradition going, even if recent examples of the art have clearly been contrived by a few “hilarious” folk in the marketing department without a whole load of thought. Back in the ’80s, when BMW, builders of the Ultimate Driving Machine, were seen by many as a somewhat dour maker of extremely Germanic outside-lane projectiles and golf-club parking lot fodder, it was quite wonderful to be exposed to their human side.
(All images originally copyright BMW and sourced from The Internet, apart from the top one sourced from today’s Times)

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  1. CraigSu Avatar

    All’s well that ends well. Good on you, BMW!

  2. CraigSu Avatar

    More BMW April Fools history can be found here:
    I think the M3 pickup is my favorite, mainly because they went so far as to actually build one.

  3. dr zero Avatar
    dr zero

    Not at all car related, but how can anyone be happy with a tackle count of 18! Now here’s a real player (who once made 71 tackles in a single game and usually average over 40 per game).