Mini Cooper has a final four.
The finalists in the brand’s U.S. review—which sources identified as Bartle Bogle Hegarty, The Via Agency, Fitzgerald + Co. and incumbent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners—emerged from a group of six shops that Mini Cooper executives visited. The agencies that did not advance were Anomaly and McKinney.
Final presentations for the business, which includes national, regional and dealer advertising, media planning and most media buying, are expected to take place in May, after a round of work sessions in April. Account revenue is estimated at $5 million to $7 million.
The incumbent in any review typically faces long odds of keeping the business. In this case, however, Mini is coming off of a banner sales year (U.S. sales grew 26 percent to 57,511 units in 2011) and the search was mandated by the policies of Mini parent company BMW Group. As such, Butler, Shine is seen as the agency to beat.
Media spending on the brand exceeded $19 million in the first 11 months of last year, according to Nielsen. The total for all of 2010 was about $18 million. Those figures don’t include online spending.
Not in play are multicultural marketing, Web development and CRM, and broadcast media buying, which remain at Sanders Wingo, Beam Interactive and UM, respectively.
Hasan + Co., a Raleigh, N.C.-based consultancy, is managing the search. Hasan did not return calls, and a Mini representative declined to comment on the review.