BMW may be a German car company, but it's also the best-selling luxury brand in America. And that's ample reason for the brand to have signed on as a major sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee and Team USA athletes participating in the London Olympics.
Certainly any American watching the pre-Olympics news leading up to Friday's opening of the games, and now watching telecasts on NBC and its sister networks, is by now well familiar with BMW ads that extrapolate the "performance" requirements of elite athletes and the supreme "performance" characteristics of BMW's "ultimate driving machine."
The automaker is going to some extreme lengths to reinforce that connection in other ways. It has sponsored a BMW Drive for USA, and Mini Takes the States, fundraising drives for USOC to promote not only the teams but BMW brands. And its BMW Performance Team — 11 U.S. athletes, including current and former Olympians — not only have been included in advertisements and featured on social-media channels but also are being teed up by BMW's PR team for interviews in London at the BMW Pavilion.
So, for instance, Natalie Coughlin was scheduled to take time around her relay-swimming event to hold forth for interviewers on her illustrious career and "the next generation of great American female swimmers," as BMW's press office put it. And Sanya Richards-Ross has promised to make herself available late in the games to talk about her 200-meter performance on the track.
At the same time, like other brands ranging from P&G to McDonald's to Coca-Cola, BMW wants to be seen as a major brand at the site of the games themselves. And while it's difficult to credibly integrate very fast and nimble BMW vehicles with the communality of life in the Olympic Village and in surrounding London during the competition, BMW has managed to promote storylines about the role of technology in sport, for instance, focusing on its velocity-measuring technology that is just as applicable to long jumpers as it is to automotive prototypes.
BMW also has provided more than 4,000 green vehicles — a sustainable fleet of low-emission, diesel, hybrid and electric cars, motorcycles and bicycles — for use in a wide range of duties so that the London Olympic committee can pull off the games, including its BMW Pedelec pedal-electric cycles.
BMW's famed art car collection is also on display in a public installation in East London through Aug. 4th, in a partnership with the ICA as part of the London Festival cultural component to the Summer Games.
And of course there's one unofficial duty for the BMW brand reps in London: Searching for those emergent stars of these Olympics who might very soon have the means and motivation to buy their own Ultimate Driving Machines.
[image via ICA London/Flickr]