Working with MINI Canada since its 2002 launch, Taxi has won multiple awards and driven onto new creative ground
Not only have the various offices of Taxi been consistent winners in the Applied Arts Awards, they have also won repeatedly for various long-term, high-profile clients. This is especially true for MINI Canada, an account that Taxi snagged in 2002, with great expectations. “We want to introduce the MINI to Canadian consumers with a campaign designed to attract a maxi response,” said Manfred Braunl, then marketing manager for the BMW and MINI brands in Canada.
And Taxi delivered. Its MINI work turned heads and won awards, ranging from 2002's posters hung over urinals, showing the little car with attitude and the headline, “For Those Who Really Need To Go,” to this year’s Vending Machine.
According to the 2011 winning caption: “The MINI Vending Machine is the largest ever fully interactive night projection in Canada, which showcases the latest 2011 MINIs in a variety of different colour combinations and accessories. Passersby can interact with the projection by texting to a short code to select the MINI of their choice. This triggers the MINI they've selected to drive to the bottom in a fun animation. As the animation plays, a personalized-response SMS message is dispatched to the participant.”
As far as Taxi’s approach to the MINI Canada account, it posts this rationale online:
MINI had little history of brand awareness in Canada. Most people remembered it as a quirky, cute, and somewhat unsafe compact car. Our challenge was to change this perception and create the conditions for a successful launch in the very competitive small car category. Small cars run the risk of being considered “cute” and therefore a “chick car” that guys won’t go near. Also, “cute” assumes the role of a fashion trend, which can be short-lived. Long-term sales are assured by male purchasers and based on attributes not fashion.
To make sure the MINI didn’t fall into the “trendy car” trap of declining sales and a female-skewed fan base, we had to position it as a car with substance and character. Attributes from the old and new MINI were blended to appeal to male drivers. We coined the phrase “FLIP” to identify these attributes: Fun, Legacy (racing), Individuality and Performance. Basically, we wanted male consumers to FLIP over the new MINI.
The launch campaign played on male love for the underdog. We introduced MINI as the little car with a big, ballsy attitude. We used variations on the classic tale of David and Goliath, and of course, the little guy always wins. We also backed up this attitude by focusing on MINI’s power and performance features, removing “cute” from its vernacular. The campaign involved everything from cinema and TV, to print materials and launch events.
The Canadian introduction of MINI was recognized as one of the best international launches by the BMW head office in Germany. The campaign was so successful that all 500 Launch Edition vehicles were pre-sold online – that means 40% of the 2002 sales target was achieved before the cars even hit the showroom floor. Plus, the fact that 75% of buyers were male meant the creative was perfectly “geared” toward the target audience.