A MINI Community – The Decoder Campaign


Here is another magazine ad which utilizes a creative way to get the consumer interested in their product. This one, however, is not to draw new customers, but rather to develope a community with existing ones. Done by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners for MINI USA, this ad can be found in this months issue of Blender and Maxim Magazine.

This campaign falls in line with what Shine’s CEO Greg Sturn said last December about their proposal, “[that] It is basically about the evangelical community of owners (of Minis) and creating technological platforms that recognize those owners and allows them to do what they do — which is be evangelical about the brand.” He said the agency’s pitch to the company was titled “Evolving the Mini brand without screwing it up.”

I think they’ve succeeded at not “screwing it up.” Every MINI owner was mailed a little black box containing a book entitled, “A Dizzying Look At The Awsomeness of Small.” At the end of the book is a “secret” compartment hiding a few gadgets that are meant to be used with upcoming advertisements. One of them happens to be the magic window decryptor capable of showing us the secret text. The hidden message drives the user(no pun intended) over to a Citizens for Fair Insect Treatment website. From there the user can click on a couple funny features of the site, ultimately leading them to yet another site which is part of the MINI Take The States promotion. Overall I thought this was a crafty way of making the MINI owner feel like he/she is part of a community. CP&B set the creative bar pretty high with their previous MINI campaigns and it looks like BSSP will not disappoint. Also included in the MINI “spy kit” are two other decoders – some red tinted glasses and the “super secret decoder” (a card with holes cut at strategic points).

My only critique is that this campaign could have been done in a way that both cultivated existing mini-owners as well as enticing non-mini owners rather than alienating them. Also, what if the MINI owner lost(or threw out) their “magic window decryptor?”

All images courtesy of Ian Cull from GBMINI.net

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1 comment

  1. Great write up, thanks!! I have a MINI, and got the email from MINI USA telling me to check my mail, yet it never came. So thank you very much for posting the link!
    As for MINI alienating non-MINI owners, I think they *were* enticed. The ad campaign was most likely not entirely for us. I think it was to make non-MINI owners feel a little jealous, and want “in” on our secret society. Thus, what does not appear to be an ad, is, in fact, a darn good one. :-)

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