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Car and Driver: Bavarian Advertising Work: BMW Baits Tesla with “Wait or Drive” Campaign


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Man Waiting for Model 3 in BMW Ad


Aside from his forays into super-science and capitalism, there are two cottage industries that have sprung up around Elon Musk. One exists solely to venerate his vision and accomplishments, while the other is utterly dedicated to exposing him as a charlatan, and his followers as fools. And while umpteen-thousand folks have plopped down a cool grand to get their green mitts on a Model 3, the car itself is still nearly a year-and-a-half out, and given Tesla’s late-delivery track record, could well be farther away. As such, BMW’s joining the neg brigade with a couple of spots for their new 330e iPerformance plug-in hybrid, set to air during the Olympics.


In the first clip, above, a man waits and waits and waits forlornly, presumably having nothing better to do with his life than stare at the bare spot in his driveway where a Model 3 will someday proudly sit. In the meantime, his neighbors have picked up a 330e, and are currently enjoying 14 miles of electric range, while our depressive protagonist awaits a day when entry-luxe electric power will be his.


In the second, a lady crosses a mildly foreboding parking lot, checking her phone, slowing her gait as she passes what appear to be empty Tesla Superchargers. She arrives at her 330e and confidently drives away. It’s a strange clip, as we’re not sure why she seems to be nervous. Is she being stalked? Chased? Is a process server on her tail? What place do stalkers have in plug-in-hybrid commercials? If she is being somehow hunted, her escape doesn’t seem particularly daring.


While it behooves automakers to point out to the populace that they offer electrified options in the neighborhood of the Model 3’s price point, there’s a whiff of the cheap ‘n’ churlish about these BMW spots; an aura of smugness that rankles a bit. And in the case of the second ad, the spot’s visuals just doesn’t seem all that in sync with the message in the first place. The components—empty Superchargers, unplugging the Bimmer and driving off—just don’t seem to gel into a coherent whole. Then again, nobody ever celebrated the Bavarians for being an intentionally humorous bunch.


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