Audio Branding: BMW Uses New Sound Signature To Help Redefine the Brand


What does BMW sound like?

Not “a” BMW—they’re performance cars that can go from throaty to whisper-quiet in a matter of moments, and then back again. Even cooler, BMWs emit distinctive sounds that aficionados can identify just like a dog knows its master’s whistle.

Instead, what the brand sounds like, in the beginning of a new refinement effort, is a measure of music and non-musical tones that BMW has begun using as an auditory signal at the end of new TV and radio ads in Europe and, later this year, around the world.

The line ends with two identical sounds that have a hammer-and-tongs tinge, a deep and highly resonant tone with a metallic edge. It will replace a “double gong” used in BMW advertisements since the late 1990s.[more]

“The melody is introduced by a rising resonant sound and underscored by two distinctive bass tones that form the sound logo’s melodic and rhythmic basis,” the company said. BMW also said that the new sound represents “sheer driving pleasure” and that it has been composed to appeal to a wide variety of geographic markets. It also mimics Mercedes-Benz and Audi, whose ads have their own sound signatures.

The new BMW sound also is part of an overall sensory-branding initiative that, two years ago, included the introduction of a new co-branded line of hand sanitizers with Austrian natural-cosmetics manufacturer Susanne Kaufmann.

Other brands also have been staking out aural territory for their brands lately, including Apple, Nokia and Coca-Cola. So, BMW’s new noise sounds like part of a trend.


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