Mini Plans Big Events For Golden Milestone

mini cooper/50 yrsMini was introduced to the U.S. market as a unit of BMW in 2001. But anyone who remembers the British Invasion, Twiggy, and paper dresses knows the brand is a lot older than that. In fact, it celebrates its 50th anniversary next month with big events in the U.S. and U.K.

The U.K. celebration will be wrapped into Mini's third biannual "Mini United" festival, an event for enthusiasts that took place in Misano, Italy, in 2005 and Zandvoort, Netherlands, in 2007. This year's May 22 event is at the Silverstone Circuit racetrack, 80 miles northwest of London and about 30 miles from the brand's Oxford origins.

The weekend event will have Mini Coopers, motorsports, entertainment an exhibition of historic Minis and brand history, tours of the Oxford plant where the cars are still built, autograph sessions with Mini racers Rauno Aaltonen and (founder John Cooper's son) Mike Cooper, the Mini Challenge International Race Series, and hot laps for fans.

Kate Alini, marketing communications manager at the Woodcliff Lake, N.J.-based BMW unit, says the company will trumpet the anniversary in the U.S. with advertising and events, but not until August, the official golden anniversary date.

"Events will be mostly local events by dealers and owners' clubs, so there won't be one national event [like the U.K.'s Mini United]. But from a marketing and advertising perspective, we will be touting it online and with traditional ads that leverage the 50th anniversary logo."

Mini, which just launched a convertible version of its Mini Cooper as well as a John Cooper race-inspired, will not be launching other products this year beyond the anniversary package, per Alini.

But she says about 100 owners and enthusiasts from the U.S. are registered to attend the U.K. event. She says Mini is hosting U.S. registrants with hospitality programs, and special events in the U.K.

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