MINI Turns Biggest U.S. Campaign Into Lasting Memento for Car-Buyers

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Making drivers walking brand ambassadors—and doing good for the environment—inspired MINI USA to turn its biggest-ever marketing campaign, for the 2014 Cooper Hardtop, into an opportunity for a sustainable memento.

The approach combines fashion, branding and sustainability. In partnership with Relan, a U.S.-based manufacturer of repurposed billboard and banner products, MINI is recycling its ad campaign materials into reusable totes for every new MINI Cooper Hardtop owner in America.

In keeping with the brand’s new tagline, “The New MINI. The New Original,” each one-of-a-kind tote is a MINI work of art, sporting a label that reads: “This bag is made from used MINI billboards. There is no other like it. Just like you and each MINI.”[more]

According to a press release, “MINI is not only reducing their own footprint by re-using existing materials, but is also helping their customers reduce their environmental impact by using the upcycled, reusable tote.”

The partnership targets the eco-conscious car-buyer, and reinforces the notion that MINI is eponymously a brand that understands the environmental impact of scale—a value consumers increasingly look for in a brand as much as its design, pricing and other attributes.

It’s also, of course, a great way to turn a successful campaign into an ongoing tribute.

How successful? As Cars.com’s David Thomas reviewed the 2014 Cooper Hardtop, it “not only retains the fun-to-drive allure of previous generations, but it also outdoes them in terms of roominess, ride comfort, steering feel and acceleration. Mileage is improved almost across the board, there’s more cargo room—and the price has barely changed.”

As for Relan, the mother-daughter, WBE-certified woman-owned small business targets the intersection of advertising and accountability, creating products that are both eco-friendly and useful. 

To date, its upcycled products have been crafted from more than 600,000 tons of billboard vinyl and other marketing fabric waste include soft-sided coolers, aprons and beverage totes for beverage manufacturers, seat cushions, backpacks and pop-up tents for sporting event sponsors. 

Food for thought as marketers look to have their efforts make a lasting impact—but not on the environment or landfill sites.

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