BMW and Paranal

"Some sights you never forget"

6 mars 2012

The iconic Bavarian car-maker BMW chose ESO’s Paranal Observatory, home of the Very Large Telescope (VLT), for the global campaign featuring the brand’s latest high-end model, the 6 Series Gran Coupé, which will have its world debut at the Geneva International Motor Show on 6 March 2012.

The exclusive car can be seen parked in front of some of the VLT’s Unit Telescopes and Auxiliary Telescopes. People who know the real observatory will no doubt notice that a new building was added. The revised site, with its prominent metallic and earth colours and BMW’s new coupé could seem straight out of a James Bond movie. In fact, the Paranal Observatory’s award-winning Residencia is just that.

Another unusual element of the image is the presence of clouds. While clouds are common in most places on Earth, Paranal enjoys 330 clear days per year, so to get a balanced composition clouds had to be “imported” digitally from a photo taken in Los Angeles. The Atacama Desert is one of the driest places on Earth, and the summit of Cerro Paranal, at an altitude of 2600 metres, is well isolated from any lights and ensures that astronomers have clear skies throughout the year.

The communication for the luxury car also features a solar eclipse revealing the coupé’s elegant lines in a dramatic landscape, with taglines such as “some sights you never forget” and "some things are worth waiting for" — two catchphrases which astronomers at Paranal can likely relate to, as they patiently observe the night sky from the stunning Chilean Atacama Desert.

German photographer Georg Fischer, used to shooting in extreme and breathtaking locations, took the photos of the VLT, which will be included in the catalogue and print materials for the new car model. When asked why he chose Paranal, George Fischer answered that he was attracted by the unique and visually stunning nature of the VLT’s location.



Mathieu Isidro
ESO, education and Public Outreach Department
Garching, Germany
Tel: +49 89 3200 6222

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BMW’s 6 Series Gran Coupé and the Paranal Observatory
BMW’s 6 Series Gran Coupé and the Paranal Observatory