Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Minis as Advertising Vehicles

The classic Mini has always been a blank canvas for the creative types. From John Cooper's hot rod Cooper and Cooper S models to platforms for sometimes zany creations, Minis spur the imagination. In the UK, the classic Mini has been used for a number of memorable advertising campaigns. These are some of our favorites.

The Outspan Mini

Courtesy thisbrighton.co.uk
The promotional brainchild of the Capespan firm of South Africa, the Outspan Mini was a fiberglass representation of an orange placed on a shortened Mini platform. Outspan ordered five of the potentially roly-poly little cars for PR duty in the UK in the early 1970s. Orange was certainly the theme with an orange interior made even more so with the use of orange tinted glass for the side windows. The only break from the sea of orange was the green OUTSPAN lettering and the stalk on top. The Outspan Minis contained a driver and a young lady who would alight from the giant orange bearing a basket of fruit to mingle with curious onlookers.

Outspan Minis are still a nostalgic favorite in the UK with the surviving cars making appearances at Mini rallies and historic motoring events.

Flickr User homer____simpson
Duckhams Mini

Based on another shortened Mini platform, the Duckhams Mini was built in 1968 to resemble an outsized gallon can of Duckhams motor oil. The "can" was sheetmetal over a tubular steel frame and the rear axle was taken from a Ford product to, one assumes, give it an aggressive stance. As with other promotional vehicles, the Duckhams Oil Mini was frequently seen at motorsports events and on the open road to promote the brand. Duckhams was also associated with Formula 1 racing particularly with Lotus. 

The Duckhams Mini currently resides in the British Motor Heritage Museum in Gaydon.

Levis Mini

Does the original still exist?
While not as flamboyant as the first two cars here, the Levis Mini was done up in denim blue with orange top stitching recalling the seams on the iconic Levis jeans. A representation of the trademark brass button appeared on the bonnet along with zipper graphics on the sides of the car. Sadly, there is not much information available about the Levis promotional Mini, other than a few images of miniatures around the Internet.

Of course the modern MINI are as much a canvas for today's American marketers with versions running about with giant Red Bull cans on their back and there is even a MINI wienermobile in the wild.

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