Bentley College Marketing- Honors

This blog is for MK 402-H01 and the greater Bentley College population.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Review of Mini's Uncommon Practices

John Moore’s blog on Mini USA discusses the ways in which the company is uncommon. Although he touches on the fact that the cars Mini manufactures are uncommon and their last advertising campaign was uncommon, he focuses on the unusual selection process Mini went through in order to decide on an advertising agency for their new campaign.

This blog directly relates to marketing because it discusses the process of selecting an advertising agency. Moore first describes the “common” way in which an agency is selected. Apparently, an outside firm is chosen to weed through the sea of agency applications. A final group of agencies is then brought in to pitch their advertising campaign ideas to the company’s executives. Fortune 500 companies spend millions of dollars on advertising a year so it appears strange that they would not make more attempts to change and improve the agency selection process.

Mini decided to do just that and took a new and different approach for the process. Like every other company looking for a new agency, Mini did hire an outside firm to select its top four prospective agencies; however, this is when Mini started to change things around. The CEO of Mini, Jim McDowell, created a “boot camp” environment where the different agencies would make presentations in front of each other and compete directly with each other. Each agency had to first be put on the spot to create imaginative name tags for themselves. The agencies were also given unusual questions to answer off the top of their heads. One example was “If Arnold Schwarzenegger runs for President, who should be his running mate?” As you may be able to tell from these questions, they were not related to the auto industry or Mini USA. Scavenger hunts were also given to the agencies to complete while driving Mini Coopers. In the end, after “boot camp” and advertising campaign pitches were given, Mini USA decided to go with the agency Butler Shine.

After reading Moore’s blog and the original BusinessWeek article, my understanding of the agency selection process has improved significantly. I cannot understand why more companies do not examine their own agency selection processes. No company wants their advertising campaign to be like everyone else’s because then consumers would not pay any attention to it. Therefore, it seems logical to me that it would be a good idea to be more creative and thorough in getting to know the top agencies before one is selected and any contractual agreements are signed. Mini was able to see how its chemistry fit with the chemistry of the ad agencies it was reviewing.

One critique I would make is that there were no examples of Mini’s past uncommon advertising, even though Moore mentioned that he thought it was unusual. The blog would have been better if he could have backed up his position on Mini’s unusualness with examples. In addition, when I went back and read the original article, I found that there were interesting facts Moore neglected to mention such as a portion of the campaign that Butler pitched. The Butler Shine agency showed a clip of Mini driving on Route 66 and had posted it on the internet. I was interested in hearing more about what the agencies actually did while at “boot camp” and on their scavenger hunt. Thus, I am willing to make the assumption that others would be interested as well.

Link: http://brandautopsy.typepad.com/brandautopsy/2006/01/minis_uncommon_.html

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