Mini's name—and signature characteristic—is an asset or a fault, depending on who you ask. Great for city parking. Not great for hauling lumber. Tiny and cute. Not towering and impressive.
Now, in a new spot, the automaker's agency, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners—which recently kept the business after a mandatory review—is playing up the vehicle's diminutive stature with an attitude-driven, Olympics-themed montage about the upside of being outsized by the competition. "Small is a long shot. Small is fearless. Small works harder," argues on-screen copy. Punk band Living Things' "Bombs Below" revs up the ad, directed by Tool's Geordie Stephens, another in the long tradition of car commercials that maybe wish they were music videos.
The visuals are quick cuts: A short boy faces off against a tall boy on a dirt backyard soccer pitch. A short mixed martial arts fighter goes against a tall one in a dark cage. A short basketball player takes on a tall one. Those sports-themed shots are interspersed with footage of Minis, naturally, and clips that allude to the time-honored underdog mantle Mini is assuming: David vs. Goliath, Popeye vs. Bluto, and … Beaver vs. Bear? "Small wins our hearts," says the copy's punch line, the ad's real point. Translation: You know you love us, even though (or perhaps sometimes because) we're pint-sized. It's a fun, confident execution of a fittingly defiant strategy for the BMW-owned brand, which has earned iconic status despite selling relatively few units.
"Win small," says the ad's less-sensical, less-resonant tagline. Actually, Olympians—and the fans they represent—don't really want to win small. They want to win big, even if Mini is trying to sell little cars.
Client: Mini USA
Spot: "Win Small"
Agency: Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif.
Production Company: Tool
Director: Geordie Stephens
Executive Producers: Brian Latt, Dustin Callif, Oliver Fuselier
Editorial Company: Beast
Editor: Doug Walker