The truth about the campaign, which Mini USA and Crispin Porter call “interactive fiction,” is to be finally revealed this month. Wall posters are to go up in big cities like Los Angeles and New York, featuring the Mini Cooper logo above images of the “motorbots.” Those images will also turn up on the brand’s official Web site (miniusa.com).
The goal of the unconventional campaign – the most recent in an innovative series from Crispin Porter since the Mini Cooper came out in March 2002 – is to help generate that elusive quality known as buzz for the car, particularly among mechanical-minded male drivers who may be put off by women’s praise of it as cute. –Stuart Elliott –Pursuing Marketing Buzz (NY Times (will expire))
An ad agency has “concocted an elaborate advertising campaign disguised as a debate over whether a British engineer has built robots out of Mini car parts”.The retro design of “Colin Mayhew’s home page” is appeaing, though overall the whole thing is so slick with advertising money that it simply doesn’t look cheesey enough to be real.
All in all this campaign is very reminiscent of Bigredhair’s more engaging and creative treatment of “Biolerplate.”
I’m not at all comfortable with the the ethics of putting deliberately false information out there on the Internet, when the purpose is to draw attention to a real product. For some reason, I was less bothered by the hype around the Blair Witch Project or the game that went along with the movie Artificial intelligence. But this seems somehow to be crossing the line.