Spring campaign morphs any car into a Mini

The transformations are only virtual, but there's nothing unreal about a strategy that's providing one-on-one, two-week-long engagement with the brand.

BMW Canada’s brilliantly sticky spring campaign is inviting consumers to wonder how their current cars would look if they were (virtually) morphed into Minis.

Dreamed up by Taxi2, the initiative’s core feature is a ‘Mini Incubator’ that consumers – whose interest is piqued by a welter of campaign elements in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver – can access on Mini’s home page. They can then commence a two-week engagement by registering to have their current cars ‘Mini incubated,’ after which they will receive email updates on the transformation of their vehicles, plus information about the key features of the Mini Cooper and the Mini Cooper S.

With media buys by The Media Company, the OOH element of the integrated campaign includes billboards, transit shelters, underground parking lots and street-level media. These ads feature catchy phrases such as ‘Cardultery isn’t a sin. (It’s not even a word.)’ Meanwhile, Mini-wrapped garbage receptacles encourage passersby to throw away the keys to their current cars.

As well, there are eye-catching superboards such as the one facing Toronto’s Gardiner Expressway (pictured), which showcases a Mini navigating a tight maze of actual 3-D pylons to emphasize the tiny car’s go-kart-like handling. In Montreal, a superboard portrays a sumo wrestler jumping on a balance board with a Mini on the other end to demonstrate the feeling of a driving a twin-scroll turbo-charged engine. The Vancouver superboard features the caption ‘Burnt rubber is the new black,’ and displays a Mini followed by a long string of tire marks covering a white background.

The dump-your-current-car theme is continued in resto-bars in the three cities with suggestions that patrons might like to leave their vehicles in high-theft areas, pinpointed by blinking red LED lights on pseudo city maps.

There’s also a strong online element, with banner ads on websites such as Yahoo, Sympatico MSN and NowToronto.com driving to the Mini Incubator, plus suggestions about situations that demand the purchase of a new vehicle. The online marketing strategy includes website domination in which only the Mini ad appears with every fresh impression.