Can MINI Find its Match in Millennial Creatives?


By Max

MINI, the BMW-owned company that makes Mini-Coopers and less-mini Coopers (they come in all sizes now), has parted ways with their creative agency BSSP. Their agency review is happening now, causing us to take a closer look at their marketing, current customers, and the customers they should be targeting next.

MINI's Current Customers

They’re middle-aged men (68%) without children (77.7%) who love technology, travel, and art. They over-index on being “inventive and curious,” are outgoing and energetic, and highly educated – but with a taste for comic books and gossip rags, as well as the daily news.

Mini has been successfully selling to this group since its relaunch in 2001, but Mini USA sales have dropped by 11.1% in the last year, prompting the company to look at the younger generation of potential luxury car buyers.



The type of Millennials Mini has begun to target are not only into the latest technology, but interested in creative ways to use it. Mini’s mobile-first marketing campaigns have been a hit so far – like when they offered New York Times subscribers a smartphone app for a fully immersive virtual reality driving experience (garnering 4.2 million views for two films).

These aren’t your typical Millennials – rather, they are a segment of Millennials who are affluent, highly educated, cultured, and creative. We’ll call them Affluent Creative Millennials for short.


Getting to Know the Affluent Creative Millennial

The Affluent Creative Millennial segment is 50/50 male and female, mostly single, without children. They’re nerds, techies and readers of poetry and literature (ie. not Twilight – the good stuff). They like to cut loose and party, sometimes, in small groups – really, they think book clubs are parties. They’re introverts like that.

They also have a lot in common with Mini’s current customers – we gauged an overlap in interests and personality of 65%.

Both over index as “inventive and curious,” both like comic books and gossip rags, and while their favorite artists differ in name, all are surrealists (think flowers and trees growing out of heads as a metaphor for the creative conscious).

The Affluent Creative Millennial is decidedly more bookish (reading authors like Chuck Palahniuk and Haruki Murakami, and poets like Andrea Gibson). They’re also heavily into self-improvement and global improvement, regularly listening to TED talks, watching DIY tutorials from Brit + Co, and staying up to date on art and culture with Nowness.


It’s a really fun group to market to because of their creativity and sense of fun.
Mini’s idea to engage them through a virtual reality mobile app was spot-on.

But, how might they reach this quirky, intellectual audience even better?

What if they invited a niche author to be the ‘celebrity sponsor’? Someone unknown to the uninitiated, but who would thrill this smartypants group. Someone like the current literary “It” man, George Saunders, or the ever popular Neil Gaiman (who’s having yet another moment, in a long career of incredible moments, with the Starz series American Gods).

What if they tried to see how many books they could fit into a Mini Cooper? Or authors, for that matter?

And of course, any promotion involving technology is going to be an attention-grabber.
But the biggest selling point for Mini with this group is the very thing that makes the brand great: It allows for more creativity than any other car brand.

There are so many ways to customize the Mini – 10 million possible combinations, in fact. Enough to satisfy any creative.

For more insights into Mini’s current audience and the Affluent Millennial Creative, read our latest pitch brief.

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Topics: Knowledge; Infographic; New Business Pitch