Cannes Lions

BMW: The X2 Project Sanyuanli

TBWA\SHANGHAI, Shanghai / BMW / 2020


1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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The BMW X2 is a second, not a first car – the car that is driven out to buy one’s groceries. In China the BMW X2 is endearingly called the “shopping car”, synonymous with practicality. Not good for a model that is 5 years young and customers that are 5 years older. At the time, younger customers less than 35 years old were defecting to competing brands.

BMW sought to make the new X2 a stylish car for young people to drive, not only for families that use it for daily groceries.

If the X2 could not rid itself of the grocery ‘shopping car’ label, then BMW would shift perception and make shopping groceries the coolest thing to do.


Welcome to the Sanyuanli by BMW X2.

BMW took over the century old Sanyuanli wet market and gave it a facelift inspired by X2.

BMW injected cool into the cultural conversation around the X2 and made it appealing to “instagrammers” and grocery shoppers alike. A complete takeover for the Sanyuanli was created including signposts, stalls, food packaging and apparel. BMW also launched its very own X2 shop which carried a limited run of fashionable collectibles.

The Sanyuanli by BMW X2 became a magnet for influencers and celebrities, bringing an inspiring brand experience in a most unexpected place. Shopping with the BMW X2 was ‘Unapologetically Fashionable’. An item that belonged on the high-street or a Paris runway would ultimately be found where least expected, the Beijing Sanyuanli wet market.


We leaned into the shopping car label to bring cool back to the BMW X2. We made grocery shopping cool for young people and families alike, by making grocery shopping the in-thing to do with the BMW X2.


The campaign ran in November 2019.

Creative out of home media and social content videos were used to communicate the initiative which was open to the public.

The activation then kicked off with the actual X2 takeover of the Sanyuanli wet market in Beijing.

Influencers were invited to experience the reinvented space and the collectibles within.

While this was a Beijing initiative, the impact of the experience resulted in homepage coverage on national social media, news, and style verticals across China, giving the previously unfashionable X2 coverage way beyond the typical car launch across the entire country.


The BMW X2 became a word-of-mouth sensation. Influencers and consumers created content and shared on social media. In 3 days it drew 120 million views of the campaign’s hashtags, and 200,000 engagements on Weibo. The campaign also ranked No.1 on WeChat’s hot topic list after launch. Video views of the activation reached over 2 million across platforms.

The activation attracted an average of over 10,000 visitors per day to the market.

This work resulted in a lift of 1032% in BMW X2 model reputation, making it the ‘coolest grocery shopping car’ in town.

Our story went from a Beijing wet market to the front page of mainstream news, fashion, and car vertical sites across China giving the previously unfashionable X2 coverage way beyond the typical car launch.

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