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BMW and Shazam Create First Digital Dealership

The marketing, like the project itself, aims to bridge the gap between the physical and online space."

- Nicole Green, UK Brand Manager, BMW

Buying a new car can be a lengthy and onerous endeavor. Between the dealership, dialog with salespeople, test drives and the dreaded price negotiation, buying a new vehicle is hardly a simple process. What about the buyer who knows what they want or want to explore their options on their own?

BMW has challenged the status quo by creating the first full-service online car buying site, BMW Retail Online. Launched in the UK, the site allows prospective BMW owners to build their perfect car online — including the ability to arrange a test drive, agree to financing and payment options, and receive a trade-in value for their own car — all before finalizing the delivery date. It’s a true one-stop shop, with no dealerships, sales people or test drives.

BMW Shazam Upclose Scan

Partnering with Shazam

BMW partnered with Shazam on an innovative digital, outdoor and print campaign. Leveraging Shazam's visual recognition technology, powered by Digimarc, BMW ran a series of "Shazamable" print ads, allowing customers to scan images of vehicles on their smart phones using the Shazam app which linked directly to the scanned vehicle’s BMW Retail Online site.

"The marketing, like the project itself, aims to bridge the gap between the physical and online space," explained BMW’s UK brand manager Nicola Green in a recent Marketing Week article.

A New Kind of Showroom

BMW's bridge between the print and digital worlds was on full display at a busy London railway station with heavy foot traffic. Taking inspiration from a physical dealership showroom where people walk around browsing different makes and models, BMW set up five large display walls featuring 220 uniquely marked images of various vehicles. People were invited to tour the display and scan images of their favorite vehicles with their Shazam app to access relevant information and even make a purchase on the spot.

The two-day event attracted large crowds and thousands of scans.

"This was one of the largest projects we’ve done with Visual Shazam in terms of the scope of the campaign and the volume of images involved," said James Pearson, Shazam's VP of global communications. "It's really gratifying to see a leading brand like BMW explore new, creative ways to utilize Shazam with this powerful technology."

Scan In Action Shazam BMW

Redefining the Car Buying Process

BMW plans to expand the online store globally over the next year. The London art installation created a lot of immediate attention, but BMW's long term strategy is fundamentally changing the car buying process. People have grown accustomed to conducting commerce whenever they want, wherever they want, and BMW wants to turn the ultimate driving machine into the ultimate buying experience.