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MINI’s Motoring Mojo

The 1956 Suez Crisis greatly reduced oil supplies, sent fuel prices soaring, and forced the UK government to introduce petrol rationing. No one at the time knew if the the fuel shortage would be a temporary, a recurring, or a permanent disruption, of British commerce, way of life, and automotive mobility.

Alex Issigonis and The Birth of The MINI

For Sir Leonard Lord of the Morris Company, the petrol crises was a wake-up call. He decided to engage Greek automotive designer Alec Issigonis to urgently design and build a small, widely affordable, fuel-efficient car, capable of carrying four adults, that would be easy to assemble and roll out.

A tough assignment, that to be realised, would obviously require much innovation and Alec Issigonis proved to be eminently up to the challenging task. He moved the wheels all the way out to the corners, and turned the engine sideways, creating the first car with front-wheel-drive. This resulted in greater cornering stability, and more passenger space on the inside.

The MINI was launched in 1959 to an astonished world, and it wasn’t long before the fun, low-cost, nimble, and spacious runabout, became part of Britain’s popular culture of independence and spontaneity that exemplified the ’swinging’ 60’s.

John Cooper and Pat Moss

British racing legend John Cooper’s modified, high-performance 1961 MINI Cooper, celebrated its first motorsport victory in 1962 at the Netherlands Tulip Rally, with the remarkable Pat Moss in the driving seat, and when BMW acquired the MINI marque from the Rover Group in 1994, they retained the ‘Cooper’ badge as an iconic asset of the MINI brand.

1. MINI Urban-X, An Urban Poem

Advertising Agency: CRC Media, New York, USA

In 2016, MINI launched their Urban-X accelerator program for enterprising startups focused on reimagining city life, with an ‘Urban Us’ venture fund that provides a network of entrepreneurs around the world, with a $100,000 each, to have the necessary resources to scale up their solutions for making cities become more sustainable, liveable, and loveable.

Written and Directed by Shushu E. Spanier, the ‘Urban Poem’ commercial encourages participation by urbanities to preserve those things they love, and to change those they hate, by sharing MINI’s Urban-X commitment to sustainability, emission-reductions, and building human-centric solutions that challenge the status quo.

2. MINI Cooper S 3-Door Hatch, Big Love

Advertising Agency: Anomaly, London, UK

Directed by the ‘We Are From LA’ filmmaking duo, of Clement Durou, and Pierre Dupaquier, the upbeat ‘Big Love’ commercial is about diversity, inclusion, and social connectivity.

MINI owners defy being conveniently segmented into demographic and psychographic ‘pigeon-holes’. As the free-spirited scenario reveals, they are all different, and actually, as a MINI loving fraternity, pretty good together.

The soundtrack fittingly features American soul singer Jackie Wilson’s hit single “Higher And Higher Your Love”.

3. MINI Cooper, Chain Reaction

Advertising Agency: Heimat, Berlin, Germany

Directed by the Paris based Pleix Collective of filmmakers, the ‘Chain Reaction’ commercial is a visually impressive, metaphorical depiction of consistency, following MINI’s automotive advancement since 1959, to showcase their ‘New Original’ MINI Cooper.

The excellent production values of the impactful and epic scenario offers much viewing pleasure.

4. MINI-X Mosaert, Levitation

Advertising Agency: TBWA, Brussels, Belgium

MINI teamed up with with the Belgian fashion label Mosaert, co-founded by acclaimed Belgian singer Stromae, for an integrated advertising campaign promoting a special edition of their all-electric MINI.

Directed by Dutch filmmaker Bear Damen, the ‘Levitation’ commercial serves as an ode to the lightness of the electric MINI’s carbon footprint, and Mosaert’s special collection of design items fashioned from recycled fabrics.

A limited edition of 400 Mosaert designed electric MIN’s have been manufactured for sale in Belgium, France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco, and Liechtenstein.

5. MINI Countryman, Addition

Advertising Agency: Jung von Matt, Hamburg, Germany

Directed by writer, artist, and filmmaker André Stringer, the cleverly conceived scenario promotes the MINI Countryman’s added-value features with a human approach that is both emotionally appealing and satisfyingly practical.

6. MINI Cooper Self-Assist Parking, Surgery

Advertising Agency: Publicis, Mexico City, Mexico

I love the understated humour of the dramatised ‘Precision. Even when your mind is somewhere else’, selling proposition.

Directed by filmmaker Santi Chaumont, the eavesdropping conversation between two surgeons, busy with an operation requiring focused precision, is superbly enacted and fun to view.

7. MINI Cooper Self-Assist Parking, Air Traffic Controller

Advertising Agency: Publicis, Mexico City, Mexico

Also superbly enacted with understated humour, and directed by filmmaker Santi Chaumont, in this amusing sequel to ‘Precision. Even when your mind is somewhere else’, an air traffic controller, in the mist of issuing emergency landing instructions to an airliner, confides to a colleague that her husband Roberto is cheating on her with someone named Renee.

In reply to a query by her fellow air traffic controller, she reveals that her husband’s liaison is with a woman named Renee, and not a man.

Remaining cooly focused on her crucial task, when asked what proof she has, she presents incriminating evidence of messages between Roberto and Renee she copied onto her cell phone.

8. MINI Convertible, This Day Forward

Advertising Agency: WCRS, London, UK

Filmmaker Joachim Back’s lauded storytelling expertise comes to the fore in this online, long-form storytelling, MINI Convertible commercial.

Filmed on location in Miami and the Florida Keys, the story is about Jake who has to decide whether to sell his record label worth millions, and retire from the music business, or to listen to what his heart tells him, and continue doing what he loves best.

The film depicts him reliving the decision making d-day three times in his mind, and each time new details and implications of his dilemma are revealed.

The intriguing filmic journey to the final outcome of his deliberations makes for compelling viewing.