Mini Takes Wii, Online Gamers For Ride With Pinball Game

Mini ClubmanBMW Group's Mini is targeting gamers with Clubmania Pinball, a branded casual game for the PC and Nintendo Wii. The game, which features the 2008 Mini Clubman, is part of a multichannel campaign that grew out of a 30-second TV spot crafted by Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP).

The Clubman's unique barn-style rear doors were the main feature in BSSP's initial execution, dubbed "Pinball," and they opened outward like the flippers in a pinball game. "The point of the spot was to launch the vehicle and show off the Clubman's signature design," said John Butler, creative director at Sausalito, Calif.-based Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. "It was a great chance to show what made the Clubman different--and use something that was physically on the vehicle in the ad. And we thought the game was the perfect segue."



BSSP piggybacked on the "Pinball" spot with rich media ads, including Facebook applications, and then tapped San Francisco-based Engage In-Game Advertising to build the game. Players can access the game via PC at, as well as through the Wii's internal Web browser.

Engage In-Game Advertising President David Smith said that a tracking layer built into Clubmania Pinball allows BSSP to track things like time spent playing and whether users arrived via computer or Wii. This is the first collaboration between the two companies, although BSSP has incorporated gaming elements into previous Mini campaigns.

For example, a 2007 Mini Cooper S campaign was built around Webisodes starring Hammer & Coop, a "Starsky and Hutch"-style duo--and their adventures spilled over into Second Life. And in 2006, BSSP developed a series of regional Mini motoring schools that let users learn to cruise, park and race with their Minis online before heading into the dealership.

"We'll use games where it makes sense conceptually," Butler said. "They're an important part of the mix, given the Mini target, and we've been exploring things like in-game ads and product placements in games, like the Cooper S in 'The Bourne Conspiracy.'"

Butler said that BSSP's goal for the entire campaign was to have the imagery of pinballs and the Mini Clubman's barn doors resonate with Mini's target demo--25- to-54-year-old "creative, engaged, design-oriented" males, and of course, fans of the Mini and its racing history.

"We're trying to find consumers where they are every day, and create pieces that are custom for each medium," Butler said. "Each one will have a different perspective, but if we're successful, they'll remember the pinball and the Mini--and not whether it was a banner, or a TV spot or a game."

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