MINI Launches Biggest US Ad Campaign Amid Small Car Safety Concerns

Posted by Dale Buss on February 6, 2014 11:22 AM

Amid heightened concern about the safety of very small cars, MINI USA is launching its biggest-ever marketing campaign in support of the latest iteration of its Cooper model, the 2014-model Hardtop.

The BMW-owned marque has done a great job of establishing itself in the minds of US consumers who want a small, sporty and chic vehicle. MINI also has gotten great reviews by American consumers on quality and dealer relations. By contrast, the Mercedes-Benz-owned Smart car brand has suffered.

In its new campaign, MINI attempts to leverage that brand equity with a fresh creative approach based on an old theme, and unprecedented media spend.Continue reading...

New Mini is Bigger, Better—Yet Looks Delightfully the Same

Posted by Dale Buss on November 22, 2013 01:42 PM

There are few cars that excite more people, even those casually interested, than the Mini Cooper—the peppy sprite with the pleasing, classic profile, the big round headlights, and a unique heritage in the automotive world. Those people will be glad to know that the new Mini coming to the US and Europe next year, and just introduced at its plant in Oxford, England, and at the Los Angeles Auto Show, is pretty much like the previous Mini.

But other folks may be happy to learn that the new Mini also is slightly larger than the old and yet more fuel-efficient, offering four different powertrain options— including its first US-bound clean-diesel powertrain—and new technology including optional LED headlights and a SIM card that's permanently installed in the car, which Mini said are firsts for the mini-car segment.

"The new Mini carries forward its predecessor's aspiration to remaining the leading original of the premium small-car segment," Mini said in a statement. Added Peter Schwarzenbauer, board member of BMW in charge of the Mini brand, at the car's unveiling in England, according to Automotive News: "We have big plans for Mini."Continue reading...


Mini Gets Daring with Not Normal Auction

Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 26, 2013 08:02 PM

Known for its outlandish marketing efforts, Mini is upping the stakes with a social car auction where bidders use creative thinking instead of cash. 

The latest stunt in its Not Normal campaign was born out of a poll that found that 77 percent of Brits use "creative currency" to fund purchases, with 30 percent eager to put that effort towards a new car.

“Brits are now more willing than ever to put themselves out there and to deploy unique ways to get what they want,” said Michelle Roberts, General Manager of Mini brand communications, according to The Drum. “At Mini, we find this inventive spirit really inspiring and want to celebrate and showcase it through the auction.”Continue reading...

Mini Keeps Fighting as More Competitors Climb into Small-Car Ring

Posted by Dale Buss on August 16, 2013 11:48 AM

When Mini was the only adorable little car around, it was easier to stand out. But Fiat, Smart and even Chevrolet lately have been taking their own runs at getting Americans interested in squeezing themselves into tiny automotive contraptions, and so it's time for Mini to step up its game.

The BMW-owned brand has responded with new executions of its "Not normal" marketing campaign and by teasing its fans and automotive cognoscenti with hints about what may be in store when Mini unveils a new version of its original and most important model, the Mini Cooper, this fall for 2014.

Americans are still in love with Minis. Sales of Mini Cooper rose by 15 percent to a record 66,000 units last year, after a 26 percent jump in 2011, and Mini has been able to fill out its lineup with a handful of other models including the bigger 4-door Countryman with all-wheel drive. Mini typically scores high in third-party evaluations of quality and customer satisfaction such as those by J.D. Power & Associates.Continue reading...


Stark Contrast: Iron Man 3's Audi Deal Complicates Product Placement

Posted by Abe Sauer on March 12, 2013 10:31 AM

"Whenever Stark hangs up his suit, the technically-adept billionaire can be seen in the film behind the wheel of the all-electric R8 e-tron sports car prototype," reads the Audi press release announcing the brand's partnership with the upcoming Iron Man 3.

Iron Man's alter ego, Tony Stark, was last seen driving an Acura NSX roadster in 2012's The Avengers. In Iron Man (2008) and Iron Man 2 (2010), Stark drove Audi R8s. A spokesman at Acura's parent company, Honda, told Bloomberg that its role as the official vehicle of SHIELD (and the brand's relationship with Marvel) remain "unchanged."

"This is a strategic collaboration for us," said Loren Angelo, a marketing executive with Audi of America. "Similar to the position of the R8 as an innovation leader, Iron Man's character consistently evolved throughout the trilogy as he masterminds new trends."

In addition to swapping Stark's Acura for an Audi S7 in the third installment, Audi's Iron Man 3 deal will go beyond the R8 e-tron.Continue reading...

branding together

Peugeot Salutes French Open, MINI Celebrates China and the 2012 Olympics

Posted by Abe Sauer on June 5, 2012 06:02 PM

Are you a tennis fan? Then we don't have to tell you to watch the French Open. Are you a hardcore tennis fan? Then you might consider not only watching the French Open but getting behind the wheel of a French Open special edition Peugeot.

The tie-up between the venerable French brands to create the time-limited Peugeot 207 CC and 308 CC Roland Garros editions makes sense, and celebrates one of the most important tennis tournaments in the sport of tennis. Luxury (and less luxurious) lifestyle brands have a longstanding relationship with automakers, with varying degrees of success (and excess).Continue reading...


Mini Hits a Speed Bump But Still a Giant Among Tiny Cars

Posted by Dale Buss on January 19, 2012 03:58 PM

Small cars are facing big problems these days.

Mini this week announced a global recall that impacts 89,000 of its cars in the United States, including its Mini Cooper line, and 235,000 worldwide because of faulty water pumps that can malfunction and have caused some engine-compartment fires. Mini parent BMW is trying to reassure consumers that the move is preventative. Indeed, Mini's documented problem — five of the fires reportedly destroyed cars actually being used by their owners — far eclipses the fire problem in the Chevrolet Volt that has so weighed down that brand lately.

Beyond that speed bump, Mini these days is achieving exactly what the BMW-owned brand has wanted to achieve in the American market: reigning as the undisputed champion of the tiny-car segment, holding off the likes of Smart, Scion and even Fiat.Continue reading...


HBO Shows Big Love for Mini Cooper in Series Finale

Posted by Shirley Brady on March 17, 2011 02:20 PM

This just-released sneak peek at Sunday's series finale of HBO's polygamy drama Big Love could be mistaken as a commercial for the Mini Cooper — or as almost-empty nester Barb calls her new car, "Honeybee" — a nickname that recalls the nickname for Beyonce in an another post-Thelma & Louise female getaway fantasy, Lady Gaga's Telephone video.

In the scene above, when Nicki complains, "It's cramped back here," Barb replies, "I figured I didn't need the extra space since I'm no longer hauling kids and groceries full-time." 

She then exhorts her perpetually cranky sister-wife to "just relax, enjoy the ride" while the youngest sister-wife, Margene, cries, "All right, everyone — be quiet, let's go!" Even the music sounds like a car commercial. If you watch the finale, let us know what you think of this scene.

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