12 Shops Get RFPs for BMW's Mini Account

Twelve agencies have received questionnaires for BMW’s new compact car, the Mini, which is launching in the U.S. in 2002, sources said.

According to the RFP, due back on Dec. 1, the client will spend $20-30 million on ads in the first year. The review committee will make a cut on Dec. 15, and the client will brief agencies on Jan. 3. Finalists may see the Mini and meet with the client again at the Detroit Auto Show on Jan. 12 and 13. Shops will make final presentations at the client’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., on Feb. 7 and 8.

Shops must consider the Mini’s design, unique front-wheel drive, practicality and economy when creating the Mini campaign, the RFP said. The target consumer is a young, affluent, educated trendsetter, as the client considers its competitors to be vehicles that have achieved “cult-car status”: Volkswagen’s Beetle, Jetta and Golf, as well as the Honda Civic si, Ford Focus and PT Cruiser.

Presentations must include ideas for both the Mini Cooper and Mini Cooper S, the RFP stated. The former car is described in the RFP as a larger, more powerful version of the compact, boxy original, which debuted in Europe in 1959.

The client wants to ensure that the brands are positioned as separate and distinct from BMW, and sources said part of that effort is to exclude BMW’s roster shops, all in the Publicis Group network, from the review: Fallon in Minneapolis, Publicis in New York and Merkley Newman Harty in New York.

Publicis Group’s Optimedia In-ternational does the media planning and buying for all BMW brands and will also handle Mini brands, according to the RFP.

Officials at Chappaqua, N.Y.-based Roth Associates, the consultancy managing the review, could not be reached for comment. Susan Johann