‘Be like water my friend’ – BMW China resurrects Bruce Lee for M4GTS ad

BMW China has used the talents of deceased martial arts legend Bruce Lee in a new online ad for the M4GTS model.

To showcase the M4GTS’ water-cooled air injection system, the one-minute video juxtaposes the car gliding across a water surface with a clip of Lee reciting his famous ‘Be like water’ speech.

Created by BBDO Intertone China – before the agency lost the creative content remit to Wieden+Kennedy Shanghai – the video stemmed from the concept of the car being so fast it could drive on the surface of a lake.

Reciting his self-penned lines for the 1971 television series Longstreet, Lee’s now iconic speech reads as follows: “Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

As Lee says the final line, a projection of his image dissolves into water droplets as the outline of the M4GTS hangs in the foreground.

Released only in China on social networking platforms WeChat and Weibo, the video contains English subtitles as Lee only ever recited the speech in that language. So far, the video has been viewed more than 120 million times on both platforms since being released last week – it is claimed.

This is not the first time BMW has featured Bruce Lee in its campaigns. In 2006, the German automobile maker used the same footage to promote the company’s X3 model in Spain.

Agency: Interone China

Concept: Chris Catchpole and Celson Durante

Art direction: Chris Catchpole and James Pearson

Director: David Holm

Production house: Gwantsi

Account director: Allen Zhao


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