MINI USA Becomes Hearst Men's Group Largest Digital-Only Ad Deal

MINI USA looked for a media partner to launch a new hardtop model working in tandem with its test drive promotion. The automaker chose Hearst Men's Group to work with Ray Wert, part of the team behind the viral Jeff Gordon prank videos, to create an online series starring Adrian Simpson, former host of the BBC's "Top Gear." The deal created the group's largest digital-only deal to date.

MINI's agency, BSSP, asked owners for ideas on how to test drive the new car before it launched. Chris Cardinal, director of strategic integration at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP), said the request generated 800 submissions out of 200,000 owners. The agency chose 10. The owners were invited to participate in filming the test drives for "The Final Test Test Drive" campaign.

This campaign represents the next level of consumer-focused content and high-quality production. Half the videos show test drives and lifestyles of real MINI owners, and some highlight the technology, performance, design and efficiencies of the car.

The consumer videos range from "Vertigo," where the owner makes it through one end of the parking garage to the other within two minutes, to "Getting Medieval," where the female owner watches a joust using MINIs as horses.

Cardinal said the media plan, working with Simpson and the team writing the video scripts, have sealed the deal with Hearst. The deal represents a partnership with a publishing company with multiple channels and a strong brand. The campaign launched during the second week in April and will live online indefinitely.

The Hearst Men's Group was onsite during the test drives and filmed their own videos to complement the series, integrating the finalists into the content, while highlighting the features and performance capabilities of the vehicle. There are a total of four videos with themes that include performance, technology, design and efficiency.

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