I Think It’s a Cool Idea
Gareth Kay has a critique of a new DM piece for the MINI created by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners set to launch later this month. Advertising Age has a little summary about it:
An ad breaking in five magazines this month contains a hidden message that can only be read by Mini owners using a special paper screen mailed to their homes in a black box. The box also contains a fake book titled “A Dizzying Look at the Awesomeness of Small.” A hidden compartment in the book carries paper eyeglasses and a paper card with holes punched around a drawing of the outline of a Mini. The holes are used to align the card with the upcoming print ads to get the secret message.
And this is Gareth Kay’s analysis:
…it just feels that passion for the brand is being confused for passion for its advertising, and forgets that advertising is a very small part of people’s lives. Or am I being way too cynical?
I think Gareth Kay is too cynical about the campaign.
I think this campaign is perfect for the type of people who own MINIs. From the article, MINI branding campaigns, the MINI itself, I get the feeling that people who own MINIs are elitist showoffs. A campaign like this is perfect for them because it reinforces their percieved social status in front of everyone without allowing everyone to participate.
I think you have to be careful with what channels you use to market these hip, pseudo luxury brands. The article mentioned that they wouldn’t do TV, which is fine because they don’t want to make this product appear accessible to everyone.
But at the same time, you still need to sell cars. Elitist showoffs can have their sense of elitism if you allow them to control how you share the brand experience with the greater public. In this situation, all you can do is pamper the people who already have the cars. Fluff them up so good that they can’t stop talking about their MINIs and soon enough everyone will get one.