Mini’s big campaign

Mini makes a big noise for a small car.

Mini makes a big noise for a small car.

The new Mini Cooper campaign drives users to ‘Turbovision’ to check out the car’s new features in 3D, as well as seven cheeky vignettes that showcase the model’s new specs.

‘The main message is that the vehicle is completely redesigned,’ says Marc Belcourt, brand communications manager for Mini, owned by Whitby, Ont.’s BMW Group Canada, adding that the target is 25-45s, skewing male.

The campaign, by Toronto-based Taxi 2, has several risqué OOH efforts, including 3D washroom executions featuring a dude playing with a paddle ball that appears to come right at you, as well as two above-urinal video executions advising guys where to stand if they’re ‘real’ men. Ambitious billboard executions are running in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, featuring mounted Plexiglas Minis (complete with headlights beaming into the sky). Other cheeky billboard heads include ‘Comme un orgasme en plus rapide.’

For a national magazine execution, Taxi built a business reply card into the DPS creative by designing it to look like a ramp. Readers can mail in to receive 3D goggles to check out the website.

We asked Ron Tite, VP/CD at Toronto’s Sharpe Blackmore Euro RSCG, and Craig Redmond, CD at Vancouver’s Grey Northwest, to take this campaign for a test drive.


CR: It appears as though Mini is trying to avoid the dreaded moniker of ‘chick car.’ That’s the only connective tissue I can find in a campaign that otherwise seems very fragmented.

RT: Overall, this campaign feels like a Jackie Brown to the first campaign’s Pulp Fiction. On its own, it’s pretty good but when compared to the original, it just doesn’t quite measure up. The lines aren’t as fresh. The outdoor isn’t as breakthrough. The 3D Turbovision isn’t really integrated throughout.

Washroom ads

CR: The first defense against the ‘chick car’ label is the ‘Are you man enough?’ strategy. While I love the interaction the work has with its peeing captive, my gut reaction is, ‘Piss off – you’re a really cute little car, not a Ferrari.’


CR: I’ve always loved – always fresh, always engaging and always user friendly. Even Turbovision helps take the piss out of the male-centric/anti-chick car strategy. Like the BRC, the website screams irreverent fun for both sexes, which for me is what Mini is all about.

RT: When selling new cars, there’s always a laundry list of new features to promote. The site deals with them in a user-friendly and humorous way with really nice production value. It’s clean. It’s engaging. And it’s pretty damn informative without having to click through layers of additional navigation.


CR: If you really want to disengage a female audience, promise them an orgasm that’s even quicker! And ‘Cop Tease’? A bad sexual pun to seal the deal.

RT: Routinely stuck in traffic on Richmond Street, cars on buildings will always get my attention (‘How did he discover THAT shortcut?’) but flashing the lights doesn’t shed new light on the creative thinking.

Print BRC execution

CR: This is what I expect from Mini. Not laced with turbo testosterone but instead, fun, rewarding and a little self-deprecating. It reminds me that Mini is like a skateboard for grownups whether you’re a man or a woman.

RT: The painful yelps heard around the city occurred when the account person added in,’Oh, ya. You have to integrate this business reply card into the print ads.’ Kudos to the creative team for a seamless and innovative integration. In a first for BRCs, this one’s inclusion actually improves the ad. Nice job.


Client – Mini Canada

Stephen McDonnell, director; Marc Belcourt, brand communication manager; Tara Willis, brand communications specialist; Cullen Scannell, eBusiness and relationship marketing manager

Ad agency – Taxi 2

Lance Martin, CD; Ryan Wagman, Jordan Doucette, Greg Buri, copywriters; Jason McCann, copywriter (Taxi); Mike Blanch, AD; Troy McGuinness, AD (Taxi); Shahin Edalati, designer; Daryn Sutherland, account director; Jared Stein, account manager

Media agency – The Media Company

Jack Wu, account director; Avishag Regev, associate account director, Interactive Group; George Huovinen, senior media executive