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They made it sticky: the ads that inspire us – BMW The Hire

In a series of posts over the next few months, we will be humbly doffing our caps to the ads that inspire us, those campaigns that have been struck by the lightning of inspiration.

At Make It Sticky, we like to think we live up to our name, producing ad campaigns that stick in the mind and heart. But we're not so up our own botties that we can't recognise creative brilliance when we see it. And with that in mind, we'd like to share with you a selection of ads or campaigns that we admire or remember fondly. Those ads that really stuck in our advertising brains.

First up is the classic BMW Film Series, The Hire. Produced for 'tinternet in 2001, The Hire consists of eight short films that starred Clive Owen as 'The Driver', a super-cool chauffeur-for-hire. Think Jason Statham in Transporter without the growly voice and frequent punching. By the way, that's no coincidence: Jean-Luc Besson drew on The Hire in creating the Transporter movies.

Madonna in BMW's 'Star'

Madonna in 'Star', the fourth episode of BMW's mini-series.

Of course, the films co-star various BMWs going through their paces. But here's the thing: even though they're ads, the story comes first. Though the Beemers are integral to the action, you're watching a proper short film.

How successful was the campaign? In the year of its release BMW saw their sales rise by 12%. The series proved so popular that BMW released them on DVD, and even based a comic book based on Clive Owen's character.

Obviously, turning a car advert into a credible short film takes some major directing talent. BMW certainly didn't stint themselves, hiring cinema luminaries like John Frankenheimer, Ang Lee and Guy Ritchie. Involving actors including Madonna, Mickey Rourke and Forest Whitaker.

You can catch all of the episodes on youtube. Here are two of our favourites.

With this kind of talent on tap, it's all too easy to dismiss the campaign as simply the result of throwing huge amounts of money at a project. And of course, that helped. But before that could happen, BMW first had to have a bold and radical vision. It's brilliant, and for us, it's a great example of when advertising stopped being simply ads.

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