By Chip Lebovitz, contributor
FORTUNE -- Last month, BMW and Mercedes Benz each released online-only commercials within 48 hours of one another. Both quickly went viral, but couldn't have been more different. "The Catch" features the just-released Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster, a Formula 1 driver, and a golf pro. The pro tees up, smacking drive after drive while the Roadster screams down a runway, trying to catch the ball. And eventually, it does, setting the Guinness world record for the "Farthest Golf Shot Caught in a Moving Car" in the process. Mercedes doesn't disclose the amount it spends on individual ads, but the video is designed to feel inexpensive. The most expensive thing about it was probably the car, which goes for $277,000.
"Bullet" depicts BMW's M5 model as a rifle round fired into an open plain. The car smashes through a giant glass apple and three colossal, hanging water balloons before careening through a car-sized bulls eye. The ad is designed to transform the $90,000 M5 into a piece of "high performance art," says Kevin Marcotte, Director of Marketing for BMW Canada. It is scored to classical music.
So which ad was more successful? BMW's slickly produced video raked in over 1.3 million more YouTube views than the cost-effective Mercedes spot. According to Unruly Media's Viral Video chart, BMW's ad, "Bullet" has at 209,045 Facebook shares, more than three times the amount of the Mercedes ad. "Bullet" has been posted on 248 blog posts -- double that of "The Catch."
It's widely expected that London will lose money from hosting the 2012 summer games. But the city's real goals are more abstract: re-branding its international image.
By Daniel Roberts, reporter
FORTUNE -- This summer will bring the most sponsored, most spent-on, most visited Olympics in human history. But the real story? A global city is set to re-brand itself.
London is expected to drop more than $40 billion dollars to host the MOREJun 1, 2012 5:00 AM ET
Any corporation can be an Olympic sponsor. It just takes money. BMW went one better and created a new way for athletes to train.
By Daniel Roberts, reporter
FORTUNE -- If you were to head down to your local BMW dealership between now and August, you'd be able to test-drive a vehicle, and if you do it on a "Drive for Team USA" day, BMW will give $10 to the U.S. Olympic Committee MOREMay 31, 2012 5:00 AM ET
With a six-cylinder engine and a refined exterior, BMW's Seven-series returns to the U.S. with a new attitude.
With BP's well still spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico, energy policy and the importance of fuel economy are on everybody's mind.
Automakers are ahead of the curve on this topic, as they race to meet strict mileage standards coming due in 2016.
The new standards weigh especially heavy on makers of German luxury MOREJun 17, 2010 1:48 PM ET
Sometimes the obvious needs to be re-examined. That became clear to me the other day when I looked at the sticker prices of two vehicles I was driving. The two were radically different in size, function, performance, and status. Yet their as-tested prices came within $1,000 of each other.
For the enthusiast, the price similarity is irrelevant. He buys cars that turn him on, and the monetary value they represent is secondary. Not MOREJul 18, 2008 2:18 PM ET
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