As an initiative hatched in social media—starting with the auto blog, Jalopnik—Eli's BMW was the result of a car-loving community rallying around one of its youngest enthusiasts. At only four-years-old, Eli described his “dream car" as a BMW with 42 wheels, 19 engines, three drivers’ seats, and, of course, a toy trunk. Jalopnik asked for crowd-sourced sketches envisioning Eli’s BMW, and shortly after, both the agency and client were eagerly on board for this unique fan-based opportunity, pledging to design something completely unique on Facebook. In addition to Eli’s specs, we made a few modifications of our own, like specialized wheel arches, air vents for the toy trunk, and a body that was modeled after the latest (and bad ass) Z4 GTE racecar. And since Eli was only four when he received the final, printed rendering, we also sent him a BMW bike—for use until he learns how to drive much bigger things. Bringing Eli’s dream car to life was likely one of the most humble initiatives for the agency and client, but it was undoubtedly one of the most impactful and far-reaching as well—not just for Eli, but also for the BMW community and, as a result, everyone involved on the project. After reading Eli’s story and realizing his passion for BMW at an astonishingly young age, his enthusiasm and that of Jalopnik’s readers became contagious and intensely inspiring. In just one weekend, we were motivated to imagine, design, and share Eli’s car with him and the BMW community on Facebook. The following success though, was beyond what anyone expected. Within hours of posting, thousands of "likes," shares, and follow-up articles by Jalopnik sparked press that amounted to 11.6 million unique online impressions throughout auto, tech, and mainstream media. As a result, Eli's car became one of the most engaged social initiatives for BMW, ever, with praise from both existing and new fans. And approval continued, as BMW Global in Germany adopted Eli’s car as an example of how emotive social media should be, making it a model for future creative across the brand sphere.
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