The skeptics were right.
Months after several agencies declined an opportunity to pitch Mini Cooper's U.S. advertising account—thinking that incumbent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners was a lock to retain the business—the marketer has re-upped with the Sausalito, Calif.-based shop.
Butler, Shine, however, had to sing for its supper. Mini USA called a review, hired search consultant Hasan + Co., and invited outside shops  Bartle Bogle Hegarty, The Via Agency and Fitzgerald + Co. to compete against the incumbent.
The review came after a period of exceptional sales growth for the brand. What's more, Mini executives praised past work from Butler, Shine and noted that a policy of parent company BMW Group—and not agency dissatisfaction—had triggered the search.
Marketers often cite corporate policy when calling reviews. This time, however, Mini appeared to mean it.
In a statement, Mini USA marketing manager Tom Salkowsky said the winning shop's executives "demonstrated that while their team was the incumbent, they are far from complacent and have the creative edge that we will need to move the Mini brand forward in an increasingly competitive segment."
The assignment includes national, dealer and regional advertising and some media planning and buying. Annual account revenue is estimated at $5 million to $7 million.
Broadcast media buying was not in play and remains at Interpublic Group's UM.
For its efforts, Butler, Shine was rewarded with a new three-year contract. The agency has worked on the brand since 2005.