Finally an End to the Porsche-Mini Challenge

By | June 22, 2010

Mini vs Porsche

Those following the challenge that Mini issued Porsche a few weeks ago have had much to follow. First, Mini issued the challenge that it would pit its Mini Cooper S against the Porsche 911 s at the Road Atlanta racetrack, around the corner from Porsche’s GA headquarters. Porsche countered  by refusing, saying that it would not go out of its way for one of Mini’s PR stunts. Mini countered by upping the ante with prizes and “more on the line” as Porsche had said were lacking here. Then, awaiting a response from Porsche, Mini hired a banner plane to fly around Porsche headquarters with a banner that read, “Bring it Porsche, -Mini”.

An Unexpected Turn

Then, of all people, Hyundai chimed in and said that it would like to take Mini up on the challenge in its Genesis Coupe if Porsche doesn’t care to show. How does that affect Mini’s strategy?

First, Mini knew beforehand whether it would win or lose against Porsche. It was banking on the strategy of not much to lose. If it loses, then the disparity of price and horsepower will cause fans to minimize the loss. If it wins, it gets to tout the fact that it beat one of the foremost sports car manufacturers in the world.

Now, with the advent of Hyundai, it has much more to lose. The Genesis Coupe sits well within the price point of the Cooper S, and the horsepower numbers are much closer. Mini has yet to make a response, and candidly, we don’t think they should. Kudos to Hyundai for calling out Mini’s bluff to the public. Guerilla marketing is akin to guerilla warfare in that regard.

The Course is Announced

On Saturday, Mini put their race course out on their FaceBook page, which is not the Road Atlanta course as previously thought. It turns out to be a portion of the Road Atlanta track training area with cones, but looks somewhat advantageous in Mini’s favor. See for yourself:

porsche mini course

And The Results?!

Yesterday, true to their word, Mini unleashed their Cooper S against a Carrera S on the course, albeit not piloted by Porsche corporate. Mini hired a driver to come and pilot the Carrera, and SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the video yet, do it now!

The Mini did tank by 2 seconds, and they played it out exactly like we called it – the final lines read:
“In the end, the Porsche did beat the Mini by 2 seconds…that’s $38,000 per second”. Mini made a tight autocross course where the time between the cars would not be very different, and they could make a claim that it was only behind by a couple of seconds.

Let us know your thoughts. We’ve always been a fan of Mini guerilla marketing, but this one is a bit far fetched. We’ll be excited to see if and how Mini responds to Hyundai. Given the strategy, it probably wouldn’t work well with Hyundai.

[AJ Wilcox | Mini]


Chad Waite on June 22, 2010 at 5:42 pm.

Mini better respond to Hyundai. Seriously, if they don’t, this whole stunt will come back to bite them methinks.

AJ on June 22, 2010 at 5:44 pm.

With your PR background, you’d know best, but I think any response would be a bad one. By not responding, Mini would essentially be saying “Hyundai, nobody was talking to you”. Plus since the stunt is already over, Mini already fulfilled their campaign. Hyundai offered to take the place of Porsche, but they already filled that spot. Hyundai can spin this any way they want to make Mini look bad.

Chad Waite on June 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm.

Screw PR here, I just want to Mini to step up and take the challenge that they were essentially issuing.

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