Bavarian Autosport, 1997-98

Who wouldn’t want their car to look like this?” asks one of the judges about the cover image of the Silver Award-winning Bavarian Autosport catalog. The cover of this compendium of accessories for BMW auto owners shows only an angled shot of the nose of a bright red Beemer, but somehow the image conveys power, speed, and status. As another panelist notes, the single image “tells the story.”

The storytelling continues inside, with highly believable copy made even more so via customer testimonials. “The knowledgeable sales team at Bavarian Autosport helped me to create the ultimate all-purpose, ultra-fast, luxury car for my weekend autocross and daily driving needs,” says one. Another customer lists the various accessories he has added to his BMW with the help of the Bavarian Autosport catalog: “First I added a CD player….Next I added Racing Dynamics 16″ wheels….I was so impressed by my car’s new look that I added a Racing Dynamics front spoiler, side skirts, accent panels, rear apron, and rear wing.” “Great endorsements!” enthuses a judge. Panelists are also impressed with the amount of information used to sell product and the “Tech Tip” boxes that help explain things such as how to install electric antenna masts and when to replace shocks.

The judges aren’t quite as enthusiastic about the design and production of this Silver winner, though, with some calling it “uninspired.” One panelist thinks that some of the photographs are too obviously pickups from other sources, resulting in some pages looking inconsistent in tone and photographic quality.

But the group gives high marks to Bavarian Autosport’s merchandising. “This catalog sells it all, from improving the look of your BMW to enhancing the actual performance of your car,” one judge notes. Others rave about the “complete product assortment” and the positioning of the catalog, through the merchandise, as the definitive source for BMW products. One judge even thinks that the catalog could expand its merchandise line further, adding more whimsical branded items: “OK, this is hardcore stuff, but I also think these people would love some logoed BMW product, like shirts and hats.”

On the customer service front, this Silver Winner has all its bases covered, the judges agree, making particular mention of Bavarian Autosport’s best-price guarantee, three-day shipping on everything, and “e-mail club” that lets customer know about specials. But as one judge says, “I don’t think this catalog is so much about service-it’s about access. It’s a slick little business.”

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