Tag Archives: Mini


South Korea- based Hyundai has been on a roll in the past several years, with much-improved products that have boosted sales and lifted the brand’s image around the world.

Why mess with success, right?

Not exactly.

The marketing “gurus” at the Mother Ship in Seoul decided it was time for Hyundai’s first worldwide ad campaign to build a consistent global message for the brand. Or maybe they felt it was time to flex their authoritative muscles or justify their positions.

What did they come up with?  A new brand campaign themed  “Live Brilliant.”


Take a look at this lame attempt to stir emotions, just one of four :60 television commercials in the series

How does this differentiate Hyundai from others? Not much. Seems you could just pick another car brand and insert it into this spot. Also don’t see how this ties to Hyundai’s stated strategy to reinforce its new brand direction of “Modern Premium.”

Who uses the word “brilliant” anyway, unless you’re talking about your kids?

Believe it or not, Hyundai says it spent a year doing leg work preparing for this, including consumer research. Then it shot the commercials over 10 days in Los Angeles earlier this year.

And the Mother Ship spent some dough on this, hiring award winning German director Juergen Bollmeyer and buying “Departures,” the song from “Like Crazy,” which won the Grand Jury Prize for Best Drama last year at  Sundance.

What Hyundai’s Mother Ship DIDN’T do was consult in other regions with its marketing chiefs or officials from Innocean, the ad agency owned by Hyundai’s controlling family. Instead, the Mother Ship simply forced this work down their throats, regional strategies be damned.

Mind you, Hyundai in North America just launched its new ad slogan “New Thinking. New Possibilities” about 14 months ago. It takes a lot of time for the public to grasp new ad themes. Sometimes people never catch on to ad tags, especially if they are inane, which too many of them are.

We’re not a fan of the Mother Ship dictating ads to other parts of the world.

Here’s some examples. From Japan, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. decided in 2011 it was time for its Subaru of America arm to use the new ad theme “Confidence in Motion,” which has zero emotional appeal. From Germany, Volkswagen insisted in 2009 that VW of America use “Das Auto” to convey German engineering. DUH!

Hyundai’s “Brilliant” idea?

I think not.

MAKING TRACKS: Michael Jackson is returning to Motown and he’s bringing his year-old ad agency with him.

His year-old shop, Jackson & Partners, is relocating from Las Vegas to Midtown Detroit and expects to create 30 news jobs in the next three years. Jackson’s partners are Detroit-area native and auto creative chief Gary Topolewski, along with Randy Easterbrook, an indie communications consultant who has done work for many big companies, including General Motors and Mini.

 Jackson joined GM in 2000 as executive director of sales and marketing support, but he rose to VP-marketing and advertising for North America in 2006, overseeing a $2-billion-plus ad budget.  He left GM and Detroit in 2007.  Since then he was CEO of SPEEDSHAPE, worked at digital shop Sarkissian Mason and more recently VP of global sales and distribution for Coda in California.

 J&P’s current client roster includes auto dealers on both coasts, plus brand-building work for a nationally-known jewelry group.

Mr. Easterbrook is in the process of moving from New York.

Topolewski’s experience includes Jeep at Bozell, where he and his team won a Gold Lion at Cannes; Cadillac at Leo Burnett; and Nissan, Taco Bell and Apple at TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Good luck, guys!

MAKING TRACKS TOO: Bob Rickert has joined the Denver-area office of HMH as executive creative director, handling accounts that include Nike, Freightliner, Detroit Diesel and Dr. Martens. Rickert had stints at David&Goliath on Kia and Saatchi & Saatchi on Toyota.

You can find me, Jean Halliday, on Facebook and LinkedIn and also on Twitter @ jhal2001

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.


Is Chevy’s New Commercial Too Similar to Jeep’s?

The first new TV commercial from Chevrolet ‘s new agency broke this week under the baton of General Motors’ new marketing czar Joel Ewanick.
It features Chevy’s slick Corvette, comparing the sports car that have made kids and grown men drool for decades to a rocket ship.
See for yourself:

Using a low-volume halo car like the Vette is a natural for any carmaker and can create a nice aura for the rest of a brand. Chevrolet has been remiss in not taking advantage of its venerated Vette very often in this way.
We especially like the folksy narrative at the start of the 45-second commercial, that broke during the MLB’s All-Star Game on July 13.
Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, just got Chevy’s account in late May without a review. Even before Joel’s arrival, Chevy had been trying to find a new ad tag that would capture the soul of the brand and replace “American Revolution.” Publicis, which basically had the account for a cup of coffee before Ewanick’s arrival, had dreamed up “Excellence for All.” Ewanick threw that out the window along with Publicis.
Chevy’s new commercial is already generating tons of controversy in the ether. While the spot has its fans, there’s also critics who say it’s too similar to the launch ad for the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, from that brand’s new shop Wieden + Kennedy, Portland, which focused on pride in American manufacturing.
One ad agency exec with a major car account told me if he was Joel, he would have pulled the new Chevy commercial before it aired because Wieden’s Jeep ads were already out there and the executions are so similar.
Easy to say. Not so easy to do. The time had already been bought on ESPN. Not only that, Chevrolet really needs to get back in front of consumers again.
Sometimes you take a wild shot and hope it goes in the basket.
It’s not as if Goodby & Co. copied Wieden’s approach. The story boards were most likely already approved and production well on its way by the time the Grand Cherokee ads broke about a month ago.
Let’s give ’em a chance. The real litmus test will be the MAJOR blitz due this fall for Chevrolet from Goodby. Stay tuned.
Meantime, watch the Jeep Grand Cherokee commercial:

What’s your verdict?

KUDOS: To Shaun Bugbee, VP-sales and marketing for Mini Financial Services for challenging his team to make the dry topic of aftermarket insurance services entertaining. The result: a viral video for Mini’s Extended Motorer Protection, created by P3 Entertainment Manhattan, that earned a recent Telly Award.
Check it out – and let me know what you think.