MINI owes much of its incredible longevity and success to the quirky and timeless appeal of its iconic outline. Since joining the BMW Group in 1994, the brand has steadily evolved from a niche vehicle for “enthusiasts” to become far more mainstream—all the while gaining a reputation for creating eye-catching guerrilla marketing and offbeat campaigns.
The brand is set on solidifying a reputation that goes beyond buzzworthy marketing, and has been hard at work to ensure that it remains relevant. In the first nine months of the year, BMW sold more than 246,426 MINI vehicles globally, and in the U.S. alone, year-to-date MINI sales were up 14.8 percent from 2014. But the brand isn’t done yet. Earlier this summer, it unveiled the 2016 MINI Clubman, a six-door estate that marks its entry into the premium compact segment, an area predicted to grow to make up 27 percent of global car sales by 2020. The Clubman signals its realigned strategy for MINI to “concentrate on five core models with strong characters.” To that end, a redesigned and simplified logo was rolled out midsummer, and two of the brand’s models—the Coupe and the Roadster—were retired.
To support the Clubman launch, MINI rolled out a new campaign called “Go with Your Gut.” Consisting of a series of shorts that examine the inspirations and processes of notable creatives, MINI is telling buyers to “defy convention and logic” and live life—and purchase their next car—not based on reason, but instinct. Meanwhile, for its Countryman model, the brand launched a more mainstream national TV spot featuring Tony Hawk, whose previous collaborations with the brand had been focused on videos and events.
The brand is finding steady footing between its niche roots and its mainstream aspirations, staying focused on a streamlined portfolio of well-defined models that tell a cohesive story while it attracts different audiences.