MINI in New Zealand



New Prospects. We were looking to generate leads from a fresh prospect audience – urban professionals from creative industries. MINI’s product substance and unique brand appeals to the less conventional, creative personalities common to communication, design, and architecture firms.

Existing MINI Owners. Research showed we had to look beyond existing owners who were unlikely to consider repurchase for at least 18 months pending the next generation MINI’s arrival. However, we needed the campaign to appeal to them, reinvigorating their enthusiasm for the brand so they would spread the message to new prospects.

TARGET AUDIENCE SIZE – 1,000 – 9,999


DATE CAMPAIGN RAN – June 27 – August 15, 2005


Tough times at MINI. The new MINI Cooper was entering the end of its life cycle with the next generation MINI over 18 months away. Reduced marketing budgets and high dealer staff turnover, in combination with the typical mid-winter lull, were painting a gloomy picture for brand awareness and lead generation through this period. Sales targets seemed out of reach with no fresh news to entice customers to consider repurchase or attract new prospects.

Time for a mid-winter lift.  We needed to generate a mid-winter pick-up for the brand in order to engage new prospects. Our research suggested incremental sales would come from a young, sophisticated audience made up of urban professionals in creative and entrepreneurial industries. This made sense: creative people enjoy creative self expression, and the movie-making experience immersed them in a truly MINI brand experience. By having a competition where they needed to use a MINI in order to make a movie, we married up the insight with the brand.

Using enthusiasts to gain new prospects. At the same time as engaging new prospects, this campaign would harness the passion of existing MINI owners for their beloved MINI. Even better, it provided them with the means to spread the message virally, thus gaining new prospects.


Our strategy was to devise promotion to capture the imagination of our prospect audience by appealing to their creativity, and using our biggest asset, the enthusiasm of existing customers, to fuel that creativity.  The MINI Movies competition involved a simple challenge: make a 60 second movie with a MINI (old or new) in it, submit it to the MINI Movies website, and if it wins, you could win a trip for two to Cannes.

Our objecitves for the campaign: 500 Registered participants. 20 quality leads (owners of European competitors and typical Japanese trade-ups). 15 qualifying MINI Movies submitted (for use in future viral and prospect marketing activity).

To prospects, the campaign was the chance to flex their talents and compete for the ultimate adventure – a trip to Cannes during the 2006 Film Festival. In the process, they were engaged in a truly MINI brand experience. They needed to borrow or hire a MINI in order to make their movie.

Meanwhile, the competition would provide new news for MINI owners and enthusiasts. As well as having the opportunity to compete in the competition, it put them in touch with MINI prospects – who naturally were looking for a MINI to star in their movie. On the website, where they were encouraged to „e-mail this movie to a friend”, MINI owners and prospects naturally spread the campaign virally. By allowing them to create their own content, it provided a strong motivation to encourage others to engage in the campaign. To ensure we could qualify the leads captured during the campaign, participants were asked the age, make, and model of the vehicle they were currently driving, the most vital information to grade our prospects.

The campaign launched using a variety of niche media. As well as high and low value DM to key creative industries, our own MINI Movies were e-mailed virally, and loaded on the MINI Movies website. A wide collection of ambient media were also used (see Media). The response mechanism was simple and single-minded with all media and communications directing would-be participants online to Once there, they could enter, view, vote, or forward their favorite movie to a friend.


With a limited budget we needed to be creative about the media we used, and with a niche prospect audience collecting in specific city hotspots, we chose to develop an array of guerrilla tactics to surround this audience in support of the radio and direct mail activity.

Direct mail was used to target both our new prospect audience and existing new and heritage MINI owners. Word of mouth between the two groups happened organically in addition to the mechanism provided via the website.

Niche radio stations such as BFM, our key media partner in Auckland, provided us with the ability to raise awareness amongst a broader urban professional and youth demographic, sustaining word-of-mouth promotion throughout the campaign.

The web provided the perfect gathering place of all interested participants with the ability to register, vote for „people’s choice” favorites, and send their own or preferred MINI Movies on to friends and colleagues.

With the campaign kicking off via radio and direct mail, we employed a number of guerrilla tactics to generate word of mouth in targeted urban areas:

Fake movie posters were posted around film festival venues and cafes with high urban professional clientele/foot traffic.

Similarly, selected urban video stores were convinced to put up posters and include fake DVD covers on their shelves.

Cafe owners were approached to use „director’s chairs” amongst their pavement tables and also were provided with posters, postcards, and fake film canisters full of lollies for their patrons.

Talent scout business cards were created and placed under MINI/Mini wipers parked on the street and in dealerships.

Hollywood „walk of fame” stars were created for dealerships featuring „famous” MINI stars and their owners.

Key influencers such as media personalities, journalists, and film industry heads were sent their own direct mail consisting of an authentic film canister with nothing inside it but a film strip suggesting they „fill in the blanks” themselves, the end frame directing them to


Make a MINI Movie, win a trip to Cannes.

The MINI Movies campaign was all about talking to a niche audience on a modest budget about a very irreverent brand. So we used a wide variety of niche media, and a number of quirky, irreverent executions to generate word of mouth. The DM focused on raising excitement and driving traffic online. The radio was deliberately cheeky and focused on bizarre situations where people make their own MINI Movies. In order to set the creative stakes, we made our own MINI Movies entitled „A Little Spot of Bother,” „Camouflage,” and „Pimp my MINI” and pasted them on the website, as well as spreading them virally by e-mail. The movies were all made on an absolute shoestring, and deliberately not over produced – the same standard as we were expecting from competitors. Ambient guerrilla media was used widely – wherever we saw another cheeky opportunity. This ranged from making fake „Hollywood” stars on the pavement, to placing director chairs in cafes, and DVD covers throughout video rental stores. We even produced fake talent scout cards that were placed on all MINIs that we saw parked around town, while outside cinemas we placed our own MINI Movie posters.


The MINI Movies campaign generated extraordinary interest amongst our target audience, with press and radio stations (outside any of our media schedule) promoting the story, while viral online activity added further to our participant figures.

Against a target of 500 the campaign generated 1,268 registered participants and 86 leads (qualified by their current vehicle make, model, and age).

While we had hoped to attract a minimum of 15 movies, the cut-off saw a total of 37 high-quality and highly entertaining home-grown movies submitted via the website. The movies were judged on six key criteria, an unenviable task given the surprising caliber and diversity of the entries.

Over 4,700 unique votes were registered across all 37 movies on the website. The highest average number of stars per movie over the course of the campaign was used to determine the people’s choice, with the winner picking up an average of 4.19 stars.

The campaign culminated in an award presentation, with all ten finalists and their crews receiving an invitation to acknowledge the 2nd and 3rd runners-up, delivered the people’s choice award (the punter’s favorite, as voted via the website) and present the Grand Prix Cannes prize package to the overall winners.

Overall, the campaign’s ability to produce quality new leads and generate word-of-mouth excitement was enough to convince our delighted client to commit to a second season – MINI Movies 2006. It will be run on a larger budget in association with the Short Film Festival.

Even better for our local client, the campaign was so successful here that MINI’s head office in Germany is now looking to roll it out to its key global markets, having proven its success in this test market.

TOTAL COST Rollout – Under $50,000


Our media cost included nationwide radio coverage and street poster distribution, all ambient distribution was organized directly with cafe, video, and cinema owners with no media cost incurred: $13,050.34 USD


Our production costs included web design and development, high and low value direct mail and ambient DVD covers, sidewalk/dealer stars, street posters, fake talent scout cars, and director’s chairs: $23,022.32 USD


Miscellaneous costs for our prize package, airfares to fly ex-Auckland finalists to the finale event, people’s choice prizes, and our prize-giving event: $10,858.00 USD

Advertiser:  MINI New Zealand

Contact:  Peter Jarratt

Title:  Marketing Manager

Address:  7 Pacific Rise, Mt. Wellington

City:  Auckland

Country:  New Zealand

Telephone number:     +64-9-573-6996 E-mail address:


Agency:  AIM Proximity

Contact:  Jane Eagles 

Title:  Group Account Director

Address:  111 Franklin Road, Freemans Bay

City:  Auckland

Zip/Postal Code:  1001

Country:  New Zealand Telephone number:  +64-9-361-0253 Fax number: +64-9-361-0102


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