BMW's EV division, the BMWi, has drawn the ire of netizens for its poor taste in marketing. Its recent ad for the i8 hybrid sports car made references to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which didn't sit well for a lot of people. The German automaker has issued an apology for the gaffe.
The ad would've been perfect if not for the reference, but the team behind it, for some reason, though it was a good idea to include the #FlattenTheCurve hashtag to promote the BMW i8. For the uninitiated, the hashtag is used to address the online community and provide information about COVID-19.
"Be a roadblock of the outbreak and make your own contribution to #FlattenTheCurve. The BMW i8 Coupe Ultimate Sophisto Edition," the BMWi ad read.
It didn't take long for netizens to react. BMW's advertisement, needless to say, was insensitive and it took advantage of the current situation. The ad even received a strong response from The Drive's Alex Roy, who demanded that the ad agency behind it should be sacked.
A strong reaction coming from the online community isn't really surprising considering how serious the situation has turned out, affecting millions of people worldwide. It's a good thing BMWi issued an apology quickly, and it felt sincere. The German company even promised to do better, which, to be honest, is the next proper thing to do.
We are sorry. Our last Tweet caused some irritation, and you were right in your criticism.
Our main intention these days is to share optimistic and helpful content to brighten up your days. We are all in this together.
We can do better and we will. — BMW i (@BMWi) March 24, 2020
Despite BMW's poor taste in ad campaigns, the company has actually made some good contributions in light of the pandemic. Last week, the automaker decided to suspend all car productions in the UK, along with Toyota and Honda. The suspension will last until April 17 it said, but the company might have to make further adjustments as the virus shows no signs of slowing down.
As for the BMW i8, it's funny there's still an ad for it when reports of its retirement already surfaced earlier this month. The hybrid car is available as a roadster and as a coupe, and it's actually the formative influence on the more recent lineup. But after six years, BMW decided to stop its production.
All negativity aside, the auto industry has been hard at work helping out those in need. The initiative of the industry's key players is outstanding, starting with Tesla, who announced it would be donating life-saving ventilators and mask to healthcare workers. Ford also announced it would donate respirators, ventilators, and face shields.