• 02.10.14

New BMW Olympic Ad Campaign Says Hello To The Future And The Electric i8

The brand uses gull-wing doors and Arthur C. Clarke to introduce its new line of electric cars.

BMW and agency kbs+ chose the Olympics to launch new ads for the automaker’s new electric vehicles. The centerpiece of the campaign employs a 1964 talk from famed futurist and author Arthur C. Clarke to introduce the sleek, gull-winged i8 model.


In a statement, BMW’s vice president of marketing in North America Trudy Hardy said, “It is a rare and exciting opportunity to launch a new brand and for BMW i, one that requires a world-stage. We look forward to making a bold statement about the future of sustainable mobility.”

For the campaign’s two other spots, the agency uses more funny than futurism, making the i8 sighting sound as impressive as a UFO, then showing the teenage advantages of the all-electric i3.

While one day the famous-speech-voiceover-device (seen in a few recent ads, most notably Apple’s new iPad effort) may become so common we’ll hear a random clip from 300 in an Arby’s commercial, it’s hard to argue against BMW’s choice to use the guy who co-wrote 2001: A Space Odyssey to sell a car that actually does look like the future.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.