The new animated film from BMW may come as a surprise. The 3-minute spot is not heavily branded, and is a big departure from the kind of content typically associated with BMW.
The historical piece with a modern twist is the brainchild of Beijing-based agency Fractalist, the leading social agency for BMW since 2018.
In seeking to conquer Bilibili, the German car-making giant plays by the video platform’s rules, yet still bends them a little at the same time. According to Fractalist Bilibili project manager Julien Li, launching on the platform was only a matter of time. “To create any captivating storytelling, video is still the way to go. But it was quite a daunting task because the type of creative content that a car brand can play with is somewhat more limited than other categories of consumer brand”.
The frenetic collage-style animation was brought to life by animation production company, Final Frontier, who assembled the production team, including director Ariel Costa (aka BlinkMyBrain) and a global team of specialist designers and animators, for the intense six week cross-continental production.
而动画制作公司FF终极先锋是这部影片背后的功臣，他们组建了制片团队，在导演Ariel Costa (别称：BlinkMyBrain)和他国际专业设计师动画师团队的努力下，在为期六周的紧凑制片时间之内，将这部天马行空的拼贴动画演绎得栩栩如生。
Aiming for a less advertising-like approach, the agency worked with ACG and Bilibili consultant and aficionado, John Chen, to develop a piece that would resonate with the audience on a platform that’s mostly known for ACG (anime, comic, and game) content. Julien Li explains, “we incorporated a lot of memes that were popular and recognizable on Bilibili, reworked them to fit the narrative and make them more appropriate for the BMW brand, in a way to make the content more digestible and fun”.
为了能够与平台上广大喜爱ACG（动画，漫画及游戏）内容的观众产生共鸣，代理同ACG与B站方面的顾问专家及铁粉John Chen合作，希望拍出一部不那么“硬”的广告视觉大片。Julien Li解释说：“我们整合了很多在哔哩哔哩上很受欢迎的梗，并对它们进行了重新设计，使它们更符合宝马的品牌形象，在某种程度上这样也使得内容更通俗易懂，也更有趣。”
The film strikes a balance between catering for very specific young Chinese audience, and a subtle focus on the brand’s identity. It’s a quality in messaging that often eludes BMW’s key competitors on the same platform. “Add a blue friend”, a video on Ford’s Bilibili page, is a noisy barrage of flashy memes and images, that seems to be trying a little too hard to speak its intended audience’s language. Audi went a step further, partnering with the Bilibili co-produced web animated series, “Incarnation”. The three top videos on the main page are scenes from the series where Audi’s concept car AI:TRAIL quattro appears.
Ford’s Add a blue friend《交个蓝朋友吧》
While brands flock to the digital platforms inhabited by future Chinese consumers, Bilibili is reportedly facing backlash from veteran users, who have decried the site’s growing commercialization and the dilution of its ACG identity. For those brands contributing to this shift, playing by Bilibili’s rules may also come at a cost, namely the dismantling of brand image to the point of being barely recognizable.
Image from BMW China WeChat Official Account
From a statistical perspective, with just over 50K views, BMW’s launch video is not as impactful as the Audi or Ford equivalents, which have yielded 134K and 67K respectively. However, if the long-term objective is to create meaningful interaction via content that captures the essence of Bilibili culture, adapting but not revolutionising the brand’s identity, the film does a stellar job.
Julien Li adds, “We plan to bring more awesome content to Bilibili and other platforms to share with our audience. More video ideas have been planned in the pipeline, and for the new videos, we definitely want to explore more possibilities in terms of visual design, like 3D and other formats, and ways of storytelling. And through this sharing, we’d hope to build BMW into a brand that’s here to guide, inspire, and lead a new generation of consumers on lifestyle and future mobility”.