BMW, the multicultural Bavarian

Last September, BMW proudly joined the Ciné Tapis-Rouge Festival in Montreal for the inauguration of the 2013 edition of the event, for which occasion the state of Bavaria had been chosen as the guest region

As a Bavarian business, it therefore seemed logic for BMW to associate its name to the event. But according to the representative of both organizations, Franck Strebe, Director, Corporate Communications for BMW and Daniel Curio, director of the representation of the State of Bavaria in Quebec, it seems that the partnership was much more than a demonstration of patriotism.

Of course, patriotism is part of the element of “belonging” that links BMW to the German state. Its Bavarian identity has played an essential role in its economic development over the course of the past 50 years. According to Mr Strebe, the involvement and investment of the Bavarian state in its own infrastructures, education, immigration and economy to help increase its growth has had something to do with it.

BMW also identifies very closely to its native state as they both represent a “success story”. From an agricultural state, Bavaria has grown to be a major economic hub in Germany. Similarly, from its modest beignnings as an aricraft builder, the Bavarian Motor Works has become one of the biggest automobile manufacturer on a global scale. The feeling of belonging is therefore anchored into the coporate values of the company. Mr. Strebe has commented on the subject that “applying to BMW (for a job) is applying also to Bavaria.”

But the decision to partner up with the festival, celebrating Bavaria and its filmmakers in this year’s edition, goes beyond cultural pride.

As explained by BMW spokesperson, it should be perceived as the first step towards the expression of the company’s multiculturalism. Mr Strebe provided an anecdote, explaining how in the halls of the BMW offices, people in their traditional clothes could regularily be seen passing by. And not solely Bavarians! This deliberate display of one’s cultural colors is an accepted phenomenon amongst the workforce, the company itself displaying pride in a culture that is deeply rooted in traditions. With over 100,000 employees worldwide, the manufacturer considers itself to be a multicultural business.

And this is what has inspired the partnership with the Ciné Tapis-Rouge Festival that celebrates filmmakers from a different region, state or country every year. The builder wishes to show its cultural implication towards Canada, a country already well-known for its multiculturalism, but also wishes to put its worldwide ramification forth. After over 5 years without a project in this spirit, Franck Strebe says that he believes that the partenrship with a festival that is both local and global represents “the perfect link beteween the corporate values of the company, their implication at a global level and the Bavarian identity.”

This partneship with the festival should therefore be the first of many initatives for the Bavarian manufacturer. This first has also been the occasion of a homecoming, by celebrating the Bavarian culture seen through the eyes of its filmmakers. Though he did not mention any specific projects related to this multicultural initiative, Frank Strebe said that he was hoping that the number opportunities for cultural partnerships will blossom.