Automaker MINI, 100th on the list of top 500 advertisers, runs digital ads for several of its auto models. In the 12 months leading up to April 15, 2018, MINI spent over $4M on digital ads, releasing 746 new creatives.
Here's a look under the hood at MINI's overall digital strategy, and how it compares to competitors like Subaru, Fiat, and Honda Fit.
Subscribe to the Brand Spotlight emails!
In mid-April 2018, Pathmatics data shows the auto company had a 21% spike in digital ad spending lasting 2 days. Since the start of the month, MINI introduced 69 new creatives in several languages, and 19 of those creatives debuted over the 2-day spike.
Several of the digital ads highlighted the automaker’s Spring Sales event. Another possible reason for the spend spike: in late March 2018, BMW introduced its 3rd concept electric MINI vehicle. The announcement reflects parent company BMW's ongoing efforts to electrify many of its new concept and production cars.
Pathmatics mid-April data shows MINI parent company BMW is 87th on the list of top 500 advertisers, with a spend spike of just over 2% for 4 days. In contrast to MINI’s 9% social share, BMW spent 80% on social.
In the 12 months leading up to April 15, 2018, BMW spent over $10.5M on digital ads, releasing 1,793 new creatives.
Subaru: Significant Site Overlap with MINI
MINI competitor Subaru displays ad across standard car sites, site that target older consumers, and sites that target younger consumers. Subaru spent $14.8 M over the year, introducing 922 unique creatives across all car models.
Using the advertiser comparison feature on Pathmatics, data shows that Subaru ads appeared on several of the same sites as MINI ads, including espn.com and nationalgeographic.com.
However, ads for Subaru’s compact model, the Impreza, also appear on sites that appeal to a younger audience, including buzzfeed.com and funnyordie.com. No matter the model, Subaru messaging emphasizes love, adventure, and the importance of a safe family car – featuring stories children and parents over the years. Ads that feature sales events were also part of the mix.
Fiat: Younger Messaging on Gen X Sites
MINI and Fiat displays ad on many of the same sites and its’ 1,846 new creatives over the past year appeared on sites that largely target Gen X and up. Interestingly, however, much of Fiat’s messaging targets a younger community, both in tone and content. Ads feature young friends embarking on fun outdoor adventures in the car, as well as jokes geared toward both Millennials.
As of March 2018, U.S News and World Report reported declining sales for the Fiat 500, citing it as one of the slowest selling subcompact cars. Fiat dealers have sold 63 percent fewer 500 models so far this year relative to the same period last year.
Among its 500 series, Pathmatics 12-month data shows Fiat focusing the majority of spending to the 500X, with 246 unique creatives during the time frame. November 2017 marked Fiat 500X’s most recent spend spike.
Honda Fit: Appealing to Younger Consumers
The above advertiser comparison graphic also includes Honda Fit. Honda made the top 500 advertiser list in mid-April 2018 at number 99, but its brand Fit did not.
When comparing MINI to competitor Fit from April 2017 to April 2018 across all platforms, both brands run ads on standard car buying and rating sites such as cars.com, caranddriver.com, and carsdirect.com.
MINI runs ads on news and sports sites such as espn.com, huffingtonpost.com, and sfgate.com, sites that appeal to Gen X, older millennials, and Boomers. In contrast, Fit ads are seen exclusively on sites that target millennials and Gen Z, such as upprox.com, allmusic.com, and complex.com.
In terms of themes, Fit ads on aforementioned sites go for comedy, feature a young active lifestyle, and appeal to those who frequently use social media and YouTube. For example, Fit’s video ads on allmusic.com use the hashtag #CurrentFituation and feature a cast of diverse, active, creative, young characters.
In addition, Fit features artist Nick Cannon on uproxx.com and hitfix.com
If you’re a Brand Manager checking on competition, you can conclude that Honda Fit’s ad strategy is focused in toward a younger audience, based on both messaging and site selection.
In contrast, MINI’s creative theme on sfgate.com, a Bay Area news site, is in line with traditional car commercials, featuring cars driving on roads through nature, as well as endorsements from Edmunds.com.
MINI spent twice as much as Fit during Spring 2018 - $830K across platforms with 69 unique creatives. Fit spent $356K, releasing 50 unique creatives. Creatives between the two brands were similar in theme, highlighting sales events and new models.
See the MINI's Entire Digital Advertising Strategy
For more insights from MINI's recent digital strategy, including creative details, top sites, and device-type breakdown, download the latest Brand Spotlight Report below.