MINI Drives into Television

Since arriving back in the USA nine years ago, MINI hasn’t spent a lot on television advertising. And compared to larger automakers, MINI hasn’t spent much at all in measured media- well under $40 million annually- the amount the big guys can easily spend just launching a single new model.
But this year the BMW-owned brand is shaking up its media plans and pushing into television.
Tom Salkowsky, MINI’s marketing manager since December, told me the brand will keep its “heavy pace” of TV advertising that started this year with its first Super Bowl appearance and continue through the rest of the year.
How heavy, you might wonder?
Salkowsky says MINI had more than 4,000 TV spots in the first quarter alone.
Salkowsky, who has been with BMW since 1997, says moving into TV now lets MINI communicate to a larger audience and gets the word out about the bigger Countryman model.
The best of the bunch by far is this one, called “Flow,” as part of the launch of the new Countryman

This commercial is pure MINI. Filmed in Milan, Italy it captures the European flavor of the car, its sense of adventure and fun-to-drive nature. It grabs your attention. Bravo to BSUR in Amsterdam, MINI’s global agency, to the agency’s Creative Director Jason Schragger and the clients for recognizing exceptional work. This commercial also ran in lots of other markets worldwide. You can check out a “behind the scenes” look at how CG was used to make “Flow” here

BSUR also created :15s for the Countryman launch in this country that were getting heavy play on TV here in the first quarter. Here’s one called “Flight Attendant”

Not as impactful as “Flow,” but gets the point across that the Countryman is bigger than the original MINI model, has four doors and all-wheel drive.
Makes you wonder where this leaves MINI’s US creative shop, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners in Sausalito, California.
Salkowsky says Butler, Shine is still plenty busy doing all MINI’s collateral, events, point of purchase stuff and media planning. (IPG’s Universal McCann buys MINI USA’s national and spot TV and radio).
Okay. But there’s no arguing that BSUR’s work is heads and shoulders above MINI’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial for the Countryman, dubbed “Cram it in the Boot”

Butler, Shine totally missed the mark with this spot. We get the “boot” joke, but bet there’s lots of Americans who don’t know this is the Brits’ word for car trunk. The spot is an embarrassment for the brand and a total waste of ad dollars. It was crass and not relevant to the brand – just bad advertising.
Then again- the client approved it.
MINI isn’t abandoning other mediums. It had a massive, nine-panel outdoor in Times Square for the Countryman that faced three city streets

MINI at 42nd St & 7th Ave

That just came down recently, after getting 40-million-plus impressions for each of the two months it was up.
MINI, known for events, is also considering driving events pitting the Countryman against key rivals, including the VW Tiguan, Kia Soul and Suzuki SX4.
Something MINI USA is doing seems to be working because the brand reported that its new car sales jumped by 41% in the first quarter to 12,241 units.

NEW ROADS: Congrats to Molly Peck, the new ad director at Cadillac, succeeding Kim Brink. Peck had been Chevrolet’s national ad manager since February 2007.

FIND ME ON TWITTER @jhal2001

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