Mini's attempt to ride the Anthony Weiner bandwagon with bathroom-mirror photo from a fake Twitter account was sophomoric and didn't circulate widely. But it was just funny enough to pass muster with two social media experts who said it probably appeals to Mini's target market of younger, more irreverent car buyers.
As the world knows by now, the New York City Mayoral candidate turned out this week to have sent racy photos to unfortunate women under the alias "Carlos Danger" even after he resigned from Congress for similar behavior.
Unable to resist the new media firestorm, Mini ad agency Butler Shine, Stern & Partners created a fake Twitter handle -- @CarlosDMotor -- and tweeted a pic of a towel-clad Mini snapping a selfie in a bathroom.
Wanna get your hands on my stick? pic.twitter.com/ZpDQbUnWB8— Carlos D. Motor (@CarlosDMotor) July 26, 2013
The faux Tweet didn't exactly set Twitter ablaze. By 6:00 p.m. ET, 22 hours later, the fake account only had drawn 76 followers and 29 retweets.
But given Mini's younger audience, and the British brand's heritage with the tabloid newspapers of Fleet Street, two social media experts gave the effort a thumbs-up.
"If it would be anything, it would probably be up," said Ian Schafer, CEO of digital agency Deep Focus in New York. "That's my Anthony Weiner joke for the day."
Mini has been "pretty irreverent" in its advertising and marketing, added Mr. Schafer. The tweet fits with the upstart brand's cheeky British approach.
"Is it a little tasteless? Yeah, maybe. Crude? Probably," Mr. Schafer said. "But the Mini brand is a classically British brand. Knowing a lot of Brits, this is the kind of controversy the British tabloids feast on. Not to mention the New York tabloids. If it's in good fun, so be it."
Social media expert Kathleen Hessert of Sports Media Challenge, who helped Shaquille O'Neal start tweeting, thought it "contrived" but still possible promising for the intended audience. "I would say it's a fail for most," she said. "But probably not for their target audience."
If anything, the media coverage will help publicize the marketing stunt, which was probably part of Mini and Butler's strategy in the first place.
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