Customize a Mini – in a vending machine

These nighttime projections in downtown Toronto are fully interactive, allowing passersby to choose which Mini they 'crave.'

It really is the last thing you’d expect while walking down the street after work – a giant, fully interactive Mini ‘vending machine’ projected onto an unused space in the urban landscape.

Installed in five locations in downtown Toronto, the projections ask passersby, ‘Which Mini are you craving?’ and display nine different models alongside traditional vending machine codes (i.e. B5). Viewers are asked to ‘Choose a Mini’ and text its code to 24680. Depending on which Mini is chosen, a corresponding animation is launched showcasing the model chosen and its features. When it’s finished, the participant is texted a message inviting them to check out Mini’s Facebook fan page.

The idea and creative for the projection was developed by Mini’s AOR, Taxi 2 in Toronto and executed by The Media Merchants, also of Toronto. Media was handled by Media Experts.

‘I loved it,’ John Cappella, director, Mini Canada, told MiC this morning when asked his reaction to Taxi 2′s pitch. ‘It was exactly what we were looking for – our advertising is designed to be as fun as the driving experience itself.’

The projections went up on Dec. 3 and are part of Mini Canada’s ongoing campaign to promote its 2011 models, an effort that started in September. It is not the first time the brand has done a night-time projection, but it is the first time the projection has been interactive, Cappella says.

Reports on engagement are not yet available for the installations, but the brand likes the idea so much it is considering folding it into some of its high-profile event sponsorships in 2011, which include sponsorship of the Burton Canadian Open snowboarding event in Alberta.

‘This is a concept and an idea that is very unique for Mini,’ Capella elaborates. ‘How many brands can do something like this? It really ties into the fun factor of driving a Mini, and it really ties into the customization… [those] are two key components of the vehicle, and the brand, and we wanted our advertising to communicate that.’

In addition, Mini elves armed with iPads will be hitting Toronto streets today stirring up festive spirit and looking to engage people with its Facebook page.