CASSIES Silver: Mini’s big decade

The little car’s irreverent attitude has driven success over the long haul in Canada.

SILVER: Sustained Success

Situation Analysis The Volkswagen Beetle, which ultimately suffered from being too cute, served as a cautionary tale for BMW as it prepared to bring the Mini to Canada in March 2002. The ambition was to build long-term success.

Strategy & Insight Before it arrived, Canadians knew the Mini as a quirky, cute and trendy compact car from the U.K. This image had worked there, but a repeat in Canada ran the risk of typecasting Mini as a “chick car.” The solution was to target Mini overtly at men, with a defiant, sh*t-disturber attitude. And this has been perpetuated for the last 10 years by four words: ballsy, current, consistent and fun.

Execution There was no one demographic to characterize the Mini driver. They are confident, individualistic and non-conformist – much like the Mini itself. Consequently, Mini has always defied convention and built the brand through media traditionally relegated to provide support in the automotive category. This has included high-involvement OOH, interactive pieces, stunts, online and a relatively small amount of TV. The launch campaign set all of this in motion 10 years ago, and the cheeky and irreverent attitude has endured to this day.

Results Since launch, Mini stands as one of the most distinct and potent brands in the Canadian automotive market. Sales beat targets in nine out of 10 years – with the recession in 2009 being the sole exception.

Cause & Effect While other cars have come and gone, Mini has been able to develop a long-term brand proposition that continues to resonate. The proof lies not only in consistent sales growth, but also in the brand identity that Mini Canada has so strongly developed and maintained. Outside of this, there were no marketing activities that could have caused such long-term success.


Client: Mini Canada
Director, Mini Canada: Adam Shaver
Brand communications manager: Steve Ambeau
Sales and marketing coordinator: Adam Wexler
Agency: Taxi Canada
ECDs: Lance Martin, Dominique Trudeau
Account directors: Tina Tieu, Pascale St-Amand, Jared Stein, Daryn Sutherland, Caleb Goodman
Account manager: Julie McGregor
Director of account planning: Kareem Boulos
Supervisor of account planning: Jolene Macleod
Account planners: Daniel Mak, Jenna Bowie