Celebrating BMW Films 20 Year Anniversary
Live on Zoom - Monday, April 26th at 12:00PM PST
On April 26, 2001, the first BMW Film premiered on BMW’s website. The Ambush, directed by John Frankenheimer, was followed 2 weeks later by Ang Lee’s Chosen. Six more short films would follow, all directed by highly accomplished and awarded Hollywood directors and featuring top talent, including Clive Owen, Madonna, Gary Oldman, James Brown, Don Cheadle and many more. Scott Donaton, in his 2004 book Madison and Vine, put it this way:
“In the nascent Madison & Vine space, few initiatives have captured people’s imaginations the way the BMW Films series has. It quickly became the model for advertising as entertainment, a prototype for a new form of advertising, and a case study in what can happen when one company has the nerve to challenge conventional wisdom, ignore the rules, and create a new business model.”
BMW, under the leadership of Jim McDowell, took a wild swing that connected in a way that no one ever expected. In 2002, most people were accessing the internet on aggravatingly slow dial-up connections, often requiring hours to download a 10-minute film, yet millions did. BMW had hoped that 2 million people might download the films, but a stunning 13 million downloads of the first 8-film series happened in 2002, setting the internet ablaze and BMW sales soaring!
To celebrate the BMW Films 20 Year Anniversary, we are (virtually) bringing together the creative team at Fallon who dreamed it all up. The team will be joined by Jim McDowell, Head of U.S. Advertising for BMW, who controlled the purse strings in 2001/2002 and green-lit the films, placing his career on the line. Hosting the conversation is the advertising journalist of the day, Scott Donaton, Editor and Publisher of Advertising Age and author of the 2004 book, Madison & Vine.
Scott Donaton, Head of Creative, Hulu
Donaton's work has won numerous awards, including Cannes Lions, Clios and Effies. He was inducted into the Advertising Hall of Achievement and named a Mediapost All-Star. Donaton served as president of the Entertainment jury at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival in 2013 and 2019, and served as president of the AICP Next Awards Branded Entertainment jury in 2019 and 2020.
Enjoyed a 12- year run as Vice President Marketing for BMW of North America. Prior to joining BMW, McDowell held positions at Porsche AG in Germany and the U.S. He was named “Marketer of the Year” by Automotive News in 2002, and twice named “Marketer of the Year” by Brandweek Magazine. The Advertising Club named McDowell the “2003 Silver Medal Advertising Man of the Year.” Quite simply, this is the guy who laid his career on the line for the BMW Films or they would never have happened!
Bruce joined Fallon in its infancy in 1984 as a copywriter and rose through the creative ranks to become Executive Creative Director. He led the Fallon Worldwide creative team in the conception, production and distribution of the films. Today, Bruce is the Executive Creative Director of Best Buy.
Co-creator of BMW Films, David served as a writer and art director at Fallon Worldwide. He wrote or co-wrote along with his creative partner, Joe Sweet, 7 of the films. He and Joe also oversaw, along with the producers, day to day production and post-production of all the films. Currently, David is co-creative director of the Ex-Presidents with partner Chris Ford.
Delivering 5-minute films from A-list directors to fans around the world was not a given, as video platforms like YouTube didn’t exist at the time. Kevin was the ECD of Fallon Interactive and led a team of designers, writers, programmers and technologist that created a variety of innovative solutions to address differing computer and bandwidth connectivity challenges. Today, Kevin is a designer/consultant/creative director at Kevin Flatt Design.
Brian was an executive director at Fallon, working across many clients, including; Lee Jeans, CitiBank, United Airlines and BMW.Brian was assigned to serve as Fallon’s EP to produce the 2nd season of the films. Today, Brian is president of X-15, a consulting and resource hub that offers strategic,creative, and production support for brands.
Having spent nearly 20 years at BMW, Dreher is the current U.S. Vice President of Marketing at BMW.
Fallon’s Executive Producer on the first season, Robyn oversaw the creation and production of the first series. Robyn works as a freelance senior producer for various agencies and major brands in the automotive and sports categories.