Top 5 MINI Ads: Maximum MINI Branding

September 13, 2010

As I was inhaling a massive and bloody 14-ounce, artery-clogging, life-span-shortening, rain-forest-decimating, hormone-laced rib steak, I was reveling not just in the taste and texture of said beef, I was also enjoying this maximum experience. “Maximum” in the sense that I couldn't get more joy out of it if I tried. Kind of like the MINI, be it the Cooper, Cooper S, the Countryman or the Clubman. Let me explain.

Like the slice of grilled cow that gave unto my taste buds a surfeit of joy (and possibly the start of some bowel obstruction), any MINI in the range gives the maximum joy a car can, given its diminutive dimensions. Fast, fun, frugal, stylish, customizable, and above all wickedly cool. Every MINI owner I have ever met has said the same thing -- they love the car.

Apart from being outrageously jealous that I can’t afford one yet (my parents refuse to fake their deaths so I can benefit from the insurance money - so selfish), I am mesmerized not just by the car, but also by the brand and how brilliant MINI is at using car ads to make you want their cars. They are some of the best ads in the industry, bar none.

That's why I'm sharing with you the top 5 MINI ads of the last 12 months, so you can get the maximum joy from the minimal MINI.


Although this is yet another derivation of The Italian Job (both original and new version), it’s still a great ad. It doesn’t so much tell a story as it keeps you hooked using some nice video trickery, simple music, great editing and some basic color theory. The multiple MINI Countrymen that split off from one another is sort of stolen “quote” from the Italian Job, and the fact that it takes place in Italy, but it’s a great way to hook the viewer. The soundtrack is perfect, upbeat, fun and matches the mood. And did you notice they chose the color red? It’s the brightest color in the color spectrum and it’s keeps your eyes even more focused whatever other color appears on the screen. The Italian masters used this trick while painting. Nice historical link.


Making the MINI Countryman appear as a family wagon in this short ad is a stroke of genius. The boys, three big, one extra small, are going somewhere when junior has an accident. The screaming macho threesome, rendered helpless by a little bit of urine. How they handle the “emergency,” screaming and all, is just about perfect. Silly ad, but very easy to like, especially if you're a parent - the apparent target market of the Countryman.

Life, Go Live It

I commented on this ad and the car some time ago, but I want you to have a look at this ad again. it’s just plain weird and great and unique. It’s a music video and commercial all wrapped into one. It extends the MINI range and the brand perfectly. You can go anywhere, do anything and be cool while doing it. That they took Cyndi Lauper’s Rocking Chair as the background music is even more inspired.

Suggestive Parking

The MINI Clubman is not an easy car to categorize or pitch because it straddles automotive genres. it’s not a pure MINI, it’s not a station wagon, it’s not a utility vehicle. So it crosses the boundaries, and that’s where MINI started for this really funny commercial. The disco music, the hairy white dude with the sports logo underwear, the sheer fun you can have doing, as MINI says, “anything” are just about perfect for this ad. Very funny, very well done.


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