Rampenfest To Launch BMW 1-Series From Oberpfaffelbachen

Taking a page out of its MINI playbook, BMW appears to be setting up some very clever guerrilla marketing to promote the 2009 BMW 1-series. Rather than shovel another recycled "look at the amazing precision of this new car" advertising campaign at us, BMW may be going in a different direction for the tossable new sports coupe and convertible. The story of this "viral" advertising begins with the video you see above, and we've done enough digging to figure out where it may be leading. Hit the jump to find out.


The video is supposedly the work of an American videographer named Jeff Schultz. Jeff's Youtube account is suspiciously centered around this odd 454 meter tall ramp he happened to find in the a Bavarian hamlet named "Oberpfaffelbachen." Amusingly, the city of Oberpfaffelbachen is not a real place, this much has been confirmed with the most Bavarian of our associates. If you were to follow the lead of Jeff's profile on the site, you would end up at his wordpress blog - a seemingly clumsy attempt at keeping everybody updated on his ongoing wanderings through Bavaria. Now if you're paying attention, you'll notice the odd "Oberpfaffelbachen" keyword prominently displayed. A little Google searching will reveal the towns homepage - and that's where the the whole thing starts looking like the viral advertising it is.

Oberpfaffelbachen's fictional web site makes it seem like any other idyllic German town. The site is complete with an 'About' section, profiles of the town council (one of whom has a Friendster profile), a little history, and most importantly, all sorts of allusions to an upcoming commemoration of the fictitious ramp. The pomp and circumstance even humorously includes a "Miss Ramp" pageant (Send in your pictures right now! The qualifications are you must be female, older than 21 and willing to e-mail them your picture!). It even has a a fairly amusing "Welcome to Oberpfaffelbachen" video from the "mayor".


But let's get down to brass tacks. What the hell is the ramp all about and what the hell is "Rampenfest." Heading over to that section of the site is where the viral marketing becomes clear. It seems that rather than ship the BMW 1-series across the ocean, BMW is planning on launching the little car to the US by way of an imaginary 454 meter ramp set up in the imaginary little burg:

"What is Rampenfest? Only the most amazing event in the history of Bavaria. To celebrate the launch of the new BMW 1-Series in America, we have constructed a gigantish Ramp to launch a BMW 1-Series into America. Our ramp stands an impressive 454 meters — tall enough to launch a 300-horsepower 1-Series over the Atlantic and into America!"

If what we're reading is correct, not only will they pull off the greatest hoon homage to the 'Dukes of Hazzard' in history, but they'll be doing it with the greatest imaginary festival to hoonage ever, drawing ramping connoisseur from far and wide.

While we could be wrong on all accounts here, this seems like the makings of an absolutely epic viral marketing effort if we're right about where BMW is going with this concept. For the moment, we're willing to suspend disbelief and hoist our fictional steins high until we find out for certain where this twisted tale of super amazing rampage across the ocean leads. {Hat tip to Adam Frucci!)

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Rob Emslie

From the what I can tell of that last photo, they plan to run the car DOWN the ramp and into a giant pile of horse shit. I don't see how that will celebrate the U.S. launch of the 1 series, but then again, I don't really understand the Germans.