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MINI vs Porsche: masterful stunt or marketing fail?

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Khatir Soltani
Last week, we thought that MINI’s publicity stunt that publicly invited Porsche to a race at Road Atlanta was fantastic. Challenging them to something that no one expected to happen, was a brilliant idea for gathering up Facebook fans and creating a marketing hype.

But the race did happen. Just not with Porsche’s true participation.

Unsurprisingly, the MINI lost the race, but by only two seconds. Those two seconds could mean a lot, and are obviously to MINI’s advantage.

But that’s with a course designed by MINI on Road Atlanta's infield, and not the circuit itself. That’s with a course where the two cars raced in different directions. That’s with a start/finish line right on the straightaway for the Porsche, which quietly disrupts the 911’s speed burst. That’s with different Coopers used for the practice sessions and the actual race. And that’s with other variables that could favour the Cooper S and that we’re not aware of.

Hyundai jumped on the occasion at the last minute, offering to fill in for Porsche who had politely declined MINI’s initial invitation. They even provided an Accent to act as a Pace Car; MINI didn’t publicly respond to Hyundai.

To top things off, delays and technical glitches while publishing videos of the event left all those Facebook fans hanging impatiently all evening.

So, with an artificial race result and the gigantic hype surrounding the event itself, did MINI still score big with this publicity stunt, or did they end up hurting their reputation? The opinions seem divided within our office, but maybe we’re just taking all this too seriously. Some even think that Hyundai is the real winner...

Khatir Soltani
Khatir Soltani
Automotive expert
  • Over 6 years experience as a car reviewer
  • Over 50 test drives in the last year
  • Involved in discussions with virtually every auto manufacturer in Canada