Mini Measures ‘Carfun Footprint’

DETROIT Mini Cooper has launched, which plays on the phrase “carbon footprint” and allows consumers to measure the output of their cars in terms of enjoyment. The site is part of a new campaign that carries the message: “It’s time to drive like there is a tomorrow.”

Print ads for the three-phase campaign, via Butler Shine Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif., will run in August and September issues of select lifestyle and auto publications.

Mini has also formed a partnership to insert a special “Mini” issue of lifestyle magazine Good in a Sunday edition The New York Times this fall in five major markets: New York, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The issue will feature people, places and things that, according to Mini, “make a difference in the world.”

In the second phase, ads will run in September, October and November issues of more auto and lifestyle magazines. Creative asks: “What’s your carfun footprint?” and explains the philosophy and methodology of measuring car enjoyment at

For phase three, ads will appear in October and November issues of various journals, accompanied by copy that reads: “Good. Clean. Fun.” and “More turn, less burn.” The October issue of Men’s Journal and the Sept. 18 issue of Rolling Stone will feature the same copy in vertical, half-page ads.

Additionally, billboards and wallscapes — in the aforementioned five key markets — will direct consumers to the site, which also allows visitors to measure their own car, not just a Mini, to determine their score. The footprint is derived from actual data from Strategic Vision’s syndicated New Vehicle Experience Study, Autodata’s vehicle curb weight figures and data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Vehicle Guide (which gives environmental scores to cars based on emissions levels and fuel economy).

Once the footprint is derived, consumers can chose from among several options: “improve,” which means driving a Mini; “check into a green motoring tip,” which asks consumers to give out their e-mail address and receive tips on lowering their impact on the environment; or “go minimalist,” which directs them to another Mini site,

“In the face of today’s escalating gasoline costs more people than ever are expressing renewed interest in the original premium small car,” Jim McDowell, vp, Mini, said in a statement. “What they’ll find through the new campaign is that the third-party data validates their choice — Mini cars outrank all other makes and models by the ‘carfun footprint’ measure.”

Mini sales rose more than 30 percent this year through July, per Autodata, Woodcliff Lake, N.J. The auto brand spent $22 million on ads last year and $12 million through May, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.