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The Hire, 8 short films for BMW

If you want more placements of your cars, why don’t you produce your own short films?

One of the greatest communication campaigns is definitively BMW’s The Hire online marketing campaign.

BMW launched 8 short movies directed by the best directors. This serie of 8 “episodes” called, The Hire, starring Clive Owen as the lead character and the link between the different parts received tangible results and heaps of awards. launches with a series of short films available for viewing. Clive Owen plays the driver, a man who goes from place to place, getting hired by various people to be a sort of transport for their vital needs.

The serie starts in 2001 with the launch of “Ambush”, directed by John Frankenheimer (Reindeer Games), featuring the BMW 7 series.

Along with “Ambush”, four other short films were released in 2001, including:

“Chosen” directed by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) featuring the BMW 5 series.

The Follow” directed by Wong Kar-Wai  (In the Mood for Love) with Forest Whitaker, Mickey Rourke, and Adriana Lima and featuring the BMW 3 series and Z3 roadster.

Powder Keg” directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (21 grams, Babel) featuring the BMW X5 .

Star” directed by Guy Ritchie (Snatch; Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels; Sherlock Holmes) with Madonna and featuring the BMW M5.

As the first series are a success, BMW release a second serie of three more short films in 2002.

The second series starts with “Ticker”, directed by Joe Carnahan (Smokin’Aces, The A Team), with Don Cheadle and Ray Liotta, and featuring the BMW Z4 Roadster.

Followed by “Hostage”, directed by John Woo (Face/Off, MI:2) and “Beat the Devil”, directed by Tony Scott with James Brown, Gary Oldman, Danny Trejo and Marilyn Manson.

This campaign arose from BMW’s growing concern that past campaigns had been missing the company’s target audience:  well-to-do, high-achieving males who usually researched purchases using the Internet and lacked the time to watch network television. Research showed that consumers inclined to purchase BMWs were also broadband-connected, tech-savvy males and that 85 percent of this population studied BMW’s cars online before even stepping into a showroom. To study the effectiveness of ‘‘The Hire,’’ BMW and Fallon devised units of measurement called ‘‘BMW minutes,’’ which calculated how much time viewers spent with the new Internet campaign compared to previous television campaigns. ‘‘We were astonished to discover that a major fraction of the total BMW minutes were Internet minutes,’’ McDowell told Advertising Age. Males made up 68 percent of the viewers, 42 percent of whom came from households with incomes greater than $75,000. The second suite of ‘‘The Hire’’ films featured BMW’s new Z4 roadster, which aimed at a demographic that could hopefully afford them. In late 2002 BMW began running its eight films on an exclusive BMW channel for DirecTV. The channel, which was available for a limited time, interspersed the films with behind-the-scenes footage and special ‘‘subplot’’ spots.


In 2001, BMW’s sales increased by 12,5% compared to 2000.

In 2002, BMW’s sales increased by 17.2% compared to 2001. It helped the brand to outsell Mercedes and placed it second only to Lexus in the luxury-car market.

During the first months of the campaign, the films were viewed more than 11 million times.

By June 2003 the films had been viewed more than 45 million times.


– Awarded the Cyber Lion Grand Prix at Cannes in 2002 (Cannes is the ‘Academy Awards’ of advertising)
– Awarded “Best Excuse for Broadband” at WIRED Magazine’s third annual Rave Awards in 2001
– Recipient of two Grand Clio Awards and Best of Show at the One Show Interactive competition
– In 2002, the Los Angeles International Short Film Festival’s “Best Action Short” award was given to director John Woo for Hostage
– Won the first-ever Titanium Lion, the highest honor at the Cannes International Advertising Festival. The award recognizes campaigns that caused ‘‘the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward.’’
– In 2003, The Hire series was inducted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)

Ambush Directed by John Frankenheimer Starring: Clive Owen, Tomas Milian, / Written by Andrew Kevin Walker /

Star Directed by Guy Ritchie / Starring: Clive Owen, Madonna

Beat the Devil Directed by Tony Scott, / Based on an original concept created by David Fincher and Fallon Worldwide / Producers: Tony Scott, Ridley Scott, Jules Daly /Starring: Clive Owen, James Brown, Gary Oldman, Marilyn Manson, Danny Trejo

Ticker  Directed by Joe Carnahan / Starring: Clive Owen, Don Cheadle

10 thoughts on “The Hire, 8 short films for BMW

  1. Pingback: Jaguar releases “British Villains”, a short film where any single word is a marketing value |

  2. Pingback: ¿Que es el Branded Content y Storytelling? | GPS Marketing

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