Campaign of the Year

Published on .

CP+B thinks big for Mini

Mini is in its own way almost as radical as last year's equally clear winner,
Just about the only reason we could find for not giving BMW's Mini launch Creativity's Campaign of the Year award was that we have also made its creator, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, our Agency of the Year. Which, of course, is no reason whatsoever.

And so Mini beat the charms of Nike's uniquely bizarre Presto work from Wieden & Kennedy; Leo Burnett's beguiling Altoids campaign, which has cleared the product off the shelves; and the Apple "Switch" campaign, from TBWAChiatDay. In truth though, it really wasn't much of a contest this year.

Mini is in its own way almost as radical as last year's equally clear winner, Once the agency convinced the brave client, Jack Pitney, general manager of Mini North America, that despite the conventions of the category -and because of budget restrictions and its unique potential positioning - Mini really should avoid television. In case you have not seen the entire integrated Mini work (which is possible because of its specific targeting, and because you don't read your Creativity closely enough), here's a summary of what it entails.

Mini: This is America, man.
Internet films: "Bulldog," in which a dog sniffs around a Mini, getting to know it; "Clown," where a mime hitches a ride in a Cooper S and the ride is so fast and wild he needs to get out; "This Is America," in which a British bobby stops a man for cruising down what he asserts is the wrong side of a desert highway only for the driver to remind him that they are, in fact, in America.

Magazine inserts: a four-page spread of a very curvy garage; a barf bag similar to the one you find in airplanes with the suggestion that your passengers will need it; an unscented air freshener so that the Mini can smell like the experiences it has had; stickers and a small Mini allowing you to remove and arrange the detailing on the car to determine the preferred configuration; a games wheel with different games that you can play in the car; state stickers.

There was also a Mini Playboy centerfold in the middle of the magazine that was shot by an actual Playboy photographer. The execution resembled an actual Playboy centerfold right down to the details in the bio. Then there was the New Yorker book of cartoons, put together by New Yorker cartoonists, and inserted into the magazine.

There were one-off books: the Book of Motoring explained the philosophy behind motoring. Then there was the Unauthorized Owner's Manual, a small book that explains things about your Mini that might otherwise take a person a while to learn about the car.

The billboard campaign began with teasers like "The SUV backlash officially starts now"; "Let's sip, not guzzle"; "0% body fat." They went on to say "Let's put away the middle finger," which claimed that it was time to be nicer to fellow drivers. There were various spectacular outdoor billboards, too.

There was a wide array of stunts, including one which had a Mini mounted on a Ford Excursion and driven throughout key markets. There were a handful of these throughout the country. The other gem was Mini in a stadium, where Crispin bought seats for the Mini at football and baseball games and actually positioned it in the seats in stadiums. It got much more free airtime than if the agency had actually bought spots. There was much more: from Mini rides to unique-format magazine ads. It all added up to by far the most inventive, thoughtful and creative campaign of the year.

What's more, it worked, amazingly so. Mini achieved its first-year 20,000 units sales target after only nine months -- having sold only 10,000 in the U.S. in the entire 1960s. The client and agency's biggest problem right now is to prevent the car being too fashionable and risk being a passing fad. Many would love that problem. For 2002, it is a worthy winner.

Most Popular
In this article: