Official Car: BMW’s Ryder Cup #DriveYourTeam Inc Fun & Games

BMW, the official car of the Ryder Cup, got one over its old rival Mercedes (which has a relationship with the US Team) with a convincing European win and a clever, innovative and integrated campaign to boot.


Showing its understanding that The Ryder Cup is one of those rare properties at which every single point matters and thus making live updates from the course key, through the three-day tournament BMW (the property’s official car and a long-time partner of the European team) ran a classic war room style real-time, ‘image-led’ social media score service.


The premium auto brand used the hashtag #DriveYourTeam to ignite the campaign across social channels and to encouraging supporters to be as partisan as possible and then tweeted the image-led match results as they came through.


This strategy certainly seemed to pay off, as according to a report from social media monitoring group Brandwatch, BMW was the most socially mentioned brand of the tournament’s top five sponsors (followed by EY, Johnny Walker, Rolex and Standard Life).


BMW also created a live branded experience within the Ryder Cup’s spectators’ village.


Acting as a consumer touchpoint, its interactive racing experience (created by TRO) enabled fans to  race mini BMWs around a track and compete for the fastest time.


This race experience was photographed, with the images displayed on large onsite screens and on the brand’s Twitter feed.


The brand also erected a premium BMW Lounge beside the 10th green and also ran a courtesy car service.


A creatively quirkier activation strand ran during the immediate lead-up to the tournament, when BMW created a comic online spot starring the distinctly British TV presenter Clive Anderson and US stand-up comedian Greg Proops.


Rolling out in mid September, the ad sees the two transatlantic friends take a road trip to the Ryder Cup host course and along the way bring the intercontinental rivalry to life.


They argue about everything and anything from cultural difference to their score predictions as they continue the oldest rivalry in golf.



The brand’s activation actually stretches back to March when BMW launched a ‘Road To Gleneagles’ competition.


This free-to-enter competition, open to UK golfers playing anywhere between the 27 March launch and 8 June, was powered by a social live scoring platform ‘Golf GameBook’ (see www.golfgamebook.com).


It offered all UK golfers an opportunity to win a VIP trip to Gleneagles to experience The Ryder Cup and the prime prize included a VIP hospitality for the final round of The Ryder Cup, plus dinner and overnight accommodation at Cameron House, situated on the banks of Loch Lomond.


To participate, amateur golfers just download the free Golf GameBook app onto a smartphone and then use it as their scorecard on the golf course.


The app was available for download from the App Store, Google Play, Samsung Apps or Blackberry World.


‘As a proud sponsor of The Ryder Cup 2014, BMW are delighted to be giving golfers up and down the UK the chance to win lots of great golf prizes, including a VIP trip to watch the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles,’ explains Peter Walker, Sports Marketing Manager at BMW UK.


‘BMW have supported amateur and professional golf for the last 28 years and we see the Road to Gleneagles 2014 as a natural extension to this, using the Golf GameBook app to connect keen golfers of all levels with the greatest team golf event in the world.’




This was our favourite campaign from among the European Ryder Cup Team sponsors – which also included AIB, Ballygowan, Bord Bia, Budweiser, Byrom, ClubCar, Pfizer, Unisys and Waterford.


It is a smart, premium brand golf activation which opened with an innovative long-lead pre-tournament gaming strand, heated up with engaging online film and culminated with multi-platform activations at the event itself.


A clever approach to maximise rights to a property that only happens every two years and thus is something of a rare commodity.


Like many premium brands, over the last two decades, BMW has taken on board the increasing role of golf amongst its core customer base.


BMW’s Ryder Cup relationship stretches back to the 2006 tournamen when it was the European team’s Official Car Partner at Ireland’s K Club.


This position continued in the USA at Valhalla Golf Club in 2008 and then BMW was the Official Car Partner to the event for the first time at the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor (in Newport, Wales) and in 2012 at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.


As in Gleneagles in 2014, BMW also holds the global rights (except in the USA and Canada) as “Official Partner” at the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, while BMW is partner of the European Team for the 2016 Ryder Cup (the US team currently has a relationship with rival Mercedes).


But its golf links stretch back even further.


Indeed, it has been activating around both amateur and professional golf tournaments since way back in 1985.


It has been a partner of The European Tour since the BMW International Open was launched in 1989 and last year it further extended this relationship by becoming a partner of three tournaments on The European Tour International Schedule: the BMW Championship, the BMW Asian Open and the BMW International Open (in addition to being Official Car of The European Tour).




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