BMW to Unveil U.S. Work for New Mini Model

ATLANTA–BMW will introduce its Mini subcompact to the U.S. with a campaign built around the tagline, “Let’s motor,” sources said.

Executives at BMW’s U.S. headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, N.J., and Miami’s Crispin Porter + Bogusky declined comment, deferring interview requests until a press conference set to be held in New York this Thursday.

But examples of print work and point-of-purchase material shipped to BMW dealers last week (depicting Mini’s European positioning) are tied closely to the emotion-driven “Let’s motor” theme. They feature tech drawings of the high-performance sedan linked with various graphic elements. These include a roller coaster with the headline, “Drive it,” a vintage record player communicating, “Feel it,” and a slot machine represented by the line, “Live it.”

The work, the inaugural effort from Crispin since winning the $40 million account in February, is the first in a series of print and TV ads targeting car enthusiasts and young professionals. A full-scale ad blitz begins in October, with the cars reaching dealerships next spring. “The stuff will be as far out as you can imagine,” said one source.

Guerrilla marketing will be a big part of the efforts: A New York skyscraper will be wrapped to represent the car’s two-tone paint job, and a car will be installed in spectator seats in a California stadium, for instance.

Crispin won the business by positioning the Mini not as a utilitarian vehicle, like the new Volkswagen bug, but as an automotive icon comparable to the Mustang or Corvette.

Without commenting on specifics, shop president Jeff Hicks said Crispin’s approach is about “exhilaration.” Strategically, Hicks and creative director Alex Bogusky built a case for branding the $18,000 Mini as a “must-have” vehicle, rather than as a mainstream brand building market share in the crowded subcompact category.

Crispin’s research revealed that only 10 percent of U.S. consumers are familiar with the marque-a solid opportunity to execute such a strategy, said one agency executive.