BMW doesn’t just want you to drive its cars. It wants to teach you how to drive them like a professional. And in order to do attract students to its Performance Driving School, BMW has redesigned its site to provide an in-car, interactive experience.
“We were trying to really bring to life the exhilaration that the school offers,” says Marc Hartzman, creative director at Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal + Partners, the agency behind the redesign. “We let [the viewer] feel like what it’s like to sit in the front seat with these drivers.”
Prior to the redesign, the website for BMW’s driving school only featured still photographs and text, a decidedly static way to market high octane driving classes. Now, the site features a video aimed at showcasing the adrenaline rush and lessons students receive in BMW courses. Videos on the site give prospective students an inside look at a “hot lap” (when a student rides shotgun while a course instructor performs various driving maneuvers).
The shoot involved placing cameras inside the performance car to capture the instructor’s tips and attaching cameras to a lead car for exterior shots of the performance car. The exterior shots required that cars move at the same speed and maneuver the course in near unison.
“The sound effects kind of get your blood rushing and your heart pumping and evoking all those emotions we kind of want you to feel. But then along the way we provide a little substance,” Hartzman says.
kbs+ looked no further than Matt Mullins, the chief driving instructor for the school, to star in the videos. Mullins is a former NASCAR competitor and Hollywood stunt driver–he worked on Will Ferrell’s Talladega Nights–who has taught drivers of all skill levels, including Martha Stewart and Secret Service officers.
Each of the five “mini-lesson” videos feature Mullins performing a specific driving skill–the quickest way to handle corners, proper vision, breaking and driving in wet conditions–in a BMW M5 and describing the techniques used to pull it off. Viewers watch Mullins maneuver the track and can opt to watch the mini-lessons on a pop-up screen as he demonstrates each one.
Learning to maneuver a car like Mullins is hardly cheap. One day at BMW’s M School–which teaches professional driving lessons–costs $1,450, and the two-day class costs $3,595.
Hartzman could use a lesson himself. When he tried to drive the course, he says, his car ended up in the grass.