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BMW reveals real-time purchase info for M5 via Instagram


BMW of North America is letting fans reserve one of 29 thirtieth anniversary BMW M5s to be sold in the United States exclusively through information revealed on Instagram.

Interested consumers are asked to follow the brand’s Instagram account through 1 p.m. EST on May 21 to access a gradually revealed reservation phone number. BMW’s attempt to stitch Instagram into the broader commerce tapestry speaks to a much larger and rapidly progressing trend.

“The visual nature of Instagram also provides BMW USA with a unique opportunity to tell a visual story that pays tribute to the 30-year heritage of the M5, while also allowing them to call attention to the unique details which puts this limited anniversary edition in a class of its own,” said Martin Tholund, spokesmen for BMW USA, Woodcliff Lake, NJ.

On your mark
The automaker produced 300 30th anniversary BMW M5s, 30 of which were imported to the United States. The model starts at $138,275 and is the most powerful BMW model in production.

The first 29 sales of the car in the U.S. will be conducted through Instagram. According to the brand, its 600,000 Instagram followers prefer M5 content, which receives more than 30 percent engagement than the average post.

BMW began to generate interest in the promotion on May 17th with the first of five teaser posts on its Instagram account. Leading up to May 21, the brand deployed a similar post each day.

These posts offered bits of the call-in number and fun facts about the five generations of BMW M5.

One post pits the first generation M5’s engine against the newest model’s engine. The first edition had 256 horsepower, while the 30th anniversary has 600.

Another post splits the screen between the dashboards of the second generation and the newest model.

Each post received around 2,000-3,000 likes.

Followers eager to acquire the limited edition M5 will be waiting for the reservation number to fully materialize May 21 at 1 p.m. Sales representatives will be standing by to field requests in first-come-first-serve fashion.

Those who manage to obtain an M5 will be invited to a one-day M Driving School at the Thermal Club in Palm Springs, CA.

Although the price point prevents the vast majority of BMW USA followers to take advantage of the revealed phone number, the limited production line ensures that a heated contest will take place between affluent consumers.

Dialing away
L2 Think Tank’s latest social media report makes the case that Instagram is beginning to outstrip veteran platforms because of its proliferating and attractive user base, high engagement levels and ecommerce conducive format.

Visual commerce company Olapic collaborated on the report with insights, such as user-generated images presented on brand Web sites increase conversion by 5 to 7 percent and boost average order value by 2 percent. Luxury fashion brands such as Michael Kors, Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs have emerged as dominant Instagram players, suggesting that Instagram is ideal for an “evolved form of window-shopping” (see story).

While auto brands have large communities, brands in lower-priced categories can better leverage its ecommerce potential.

As social media matures, marketers increasingly turn to each of the major platforms with distinct purposes in mind.

For luxury beauty markers, photo-sharing social application Instagram is regarded as a quick and effective tool to attract busy, affluent consumers on-the-go. From brand announcements to product awareness and beauty tutorials, Instagram’s cross-cultural format allows marketers to engage consumers on a level unmatched by other social platforms (see story).

“Instagram is the exclusive content platform for BMW USA,” Mr. Tholund said. “Followers of the page will see content on Instagram that they won’t see on any other BMW USA social media channels.

“Since the reservation number is an exclusive number, it was one of the many reasons why we chose Instagram,” he said.

Final Take
Joe McCarthy, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York