Here’s Looking at You Mini Drivers

This summer BMW launched a “Not Normal” public relations campaign that targeted current Mini owners in a larger than life manner.

One key tactic of the campaign centered around new “smart” electronic billboards that were capable of recognizing Minis as they passed by on the highway. The billboards then display targeted messages directed towards Mini drivers.

BMW launched the campaign in London. UKMN reported that human spotters were located at strategic positions along the highway to identify upcoming Mini drivers and then remotely send a specialized message to the billboard.

Drivers were greeted by simple and creative messages such as “Hello Green Mini Driver” or “You Da Man”. BMW (owner Mini) also planned special events related to the billboards. Nearby locations were designated as “pit stops” offering drivers free treats, fuel, or other small surprises. Additionally, drivers were given the opportunity for a Kodak moment with the special message for a keepsake.

Calling All Mini Owners

Brand loyalty is a key factor in a successful business. It cannot be generated by simple marketing or advertising, but can be developed through strategic planning and excellent public relations.

Brand loyalty is an emotional connection based on trust. BMW had an excellent understanding of this concept when they launched their “Not Normal” campaign.

By reinforcing the idea that Mini owners are unique and inventive individuals, BMW is strengthening the emotional connection between the product and the customer. The “smart” billboards increased awareness about the campaign among Mini owners and in turn invited them to engage in dialog with BMW representatives. This tactic also had the potential of increasing brand awareness in future customers by creating curiosity.

Old Technology, New Twist

Overall, this campaign is a great example of personalizing a traditional asymmetric form of communication (i.e., billboards). The campaign itself is “not normal” and helps illustrate the uniqueness of the Mini brand. It will be interesting to see if it resonates with current customers.