Case Study

Idea #3

CUNNING undertook nationwide underground activity leading up to the launch. While WCRS was making cinema and outdoor ads, CUNNING busied themselves spreading the word and taking the MINI brand to the people at style influencer “hotspots” around the country in 10 key cities.

The campaign started with tease and reveal fly-posting. The idea was to seed the iconic shape of the new MINI, then reveal the car at a later date. We also supported this activity with similar stickers across the same 10 cities. Targeting style bars and parked cars in these cities, we carried out the following activity to drive traffic to the new MINI website.

Authentic Snappy Snaps ‘photo-packs’, filled with teasing photos, were left on tables and bars as if someone had left their holiday snaps. The photos featured a group of mates larking in and around a MINI. Branding was very subtle and was restricted to a MINI URL on clothes worn by the models or, for example, on the wall behind.

In clubs and bars, matchbooks (65,000 in total) were slipped into people’s hands with a handwritten message and a phone number saying: “You look gorgeous, give me a call!” On calling the number, a cheeky voice message revealed the admirer to be MINI and callers were directed to to “Get to know me better and view some of my photos”.

Similar activity ran on the streets with handwritten “Post It” notes pushed under car windscreen wipers.

As part of the media launch 100 journalists were sent limited edition picture viewers to herald the launch of the new MINI. Tapping into the “MINI adventure” theme, CUNNING produced the “Seven MINI Wonders of the World” in gloriously kitsch and colourful 3D picture viewers.


This three-pronged activity, aimed at directing people to the website, achieved a very high response rate of 11.2%.

We estimate that with at least three people seeing each Matchbook and Photo Wallet and Car Park Note 202,000 people would have come into contact with MINI.


CUNNING worked with MINI for four years from launch as their retained brand experience and ambient agency. In that time, we created award-winning activity that broke the traditional car advertising mould and set new standards in car marketing.


An interesting and unusual aspect of the MINI launch was that it did not follow the usual car launch practice of big media spend up front with TV and posters. Instead, it followed the ‘adoption curve’: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority and lastly Laggards. However this was not due to a limited budget. It just fit perfectly with the overall strategy of creating desire around the car, launching as a style brand with style influencers. WCRS had already created the brand positioning of “It’s a MINI adventure”. CUNNING’s brief was to find an approach that reinforced that positioning whilst going beyond what was expected - to capture the imagination of style influencers and the non-motoring media to direct traffic to the website, to generate leads and to ultimately drive sales.

Wider Campaign Results

As part of the wider MINI campaign, devised by CUNNING, many of the marketing activities received consumer press coverage. In total 7.1 million impacts were achieved in a variety of titles including The Sun, Creative Review, BBC News, Evening Standard and Auto Express.

The launch year activity gave MINI huge word-of mouth with the style-influencers target audience and the work was a huge success. The work is now taught in BA Marketing programmes in both the UK and the US.

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