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Neale Whitaker gets behind the wheel of MINI’s ‘Next Generation’ campaign

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Neale Whitaker gets behind the wheel of MINI’s ‘Next Generation’ campaign

MINI's new partnership with Neale Whitaker

Marketing Mag Contributor: Nikesh GohilMINI has just entered into an exciting new partnership with celebrated interior design expert and media personality Neale Whitaker for its design-centric ‘Next Generation’ range. Marketing Mag sat down with MINI head of ANZ marketing Nikesh Gohil to find out why selecting the right ambassador is so important, and what the brand hopes to achieve with this new campaign.

Marketing Mag: What was the strategic rationale behind choosing Neale Whitaker as the ambassador for MINI Australia’s ‘Next Generation’ range and how does his brand align with MINI’s values and target audience?

Nikesh Gohil: Neale Whitaker has a genuine appreciation for MINI with the brand holding a special place in his family across generations as their ‘car of choice’. Our ‘Friends of MINI’, which is a more ‘MINI way’ of saying ambassadors, must align with our values of individuality, optimism, expression and inclusivity which are core to Neale’s brand. 

Neale’s eye for detail, design and personalisation were imperative in positioning him with our ‘Next Generation’ of vehicles, particularly the new MINI Countryman which was the ideal choice for his travel lifestyle – offering increased space, comfort and customised options. 

MINI's new partnership with Neale Whitaker

Neale’s audience has a deep appreciation and respect for his choices and authenticity when aligning with brands, which we see in the comments of his social posts featuring MINI. Using content featuring Neale across MINI’s platforms also resonates with our audiences who look for a profile that can provide them with authentic experiences and how the new MINI Countryman fits perfectly with his lifestyle.

As a focus of the new Countryman is its increased size, MINI is also speaking directly to families who are looking for a more spacious vehicle or individuals who want a more advanced, dynamic option which they can customise to suit their lifestyle.

MM: How does this campaign contribute to MINI’s overall brand positioning in the Australian market – particularly in terms of design, innovation and sustainability?

The ‘Next Generation’ range is an exciting new approach for MINI, offering vehicles with more space, technology and customised options than ever before. We’ve sought sustainable materials in the design of the range with our vehicles being 100 percent leather and chrome-free, using cloth or Vescin vegan leather. While MINI has always been recognised as a design-conscious brand, we’ve elevated this to the next level with a new design language called ‘Charismatic Simplicity’, which expresses each model’s distinctive design features and individuality.

We are very proud of aligning new features with the traditional design heritage of the classic MINI, from the circular console of the classic Mini to the seat patterns which represent a bridge between the past and the future. The charm of MINI transcends generations so while we continue to evolve, we’ll always retain the features that clearly distinguish our brand.

MINI's new partnership with Neale Whitaker

MM: How are digital and social media channels being utilised to amplify this campaign?

Given we have a new range of vehicles which appeal to broad audiences, digital and social are imperative in visually showcasing MINI’s offering. We invest in an eye-catching and memorable creative that truly highlights MINI’s sense of fun and individuality to emotionally connect with our audiences – and reach them on the platforms they engage with.

We also align with like-minded social profiles like Neale Whitaker whose lifestyles align with MINI values and can clearly showcase how MINI seamlessly intertwines in their lives – genuinely becoming a part of their family.

Our digital marketing strategy employs a strong use of digital channels to successfully target our audiences, particularly social, digital OOH, online video and display.

MM: How does MINI go about selecting ‘Friends’ and ambassadors?

The role of ‘Friend of MINI’ is a very important title to hold – we only work with partners who have a genuine interest in the brand and resonate with its values. Neale, for example, has had years of experience with MINI, seeing the brand evolve from when his grandmother drove it to now. We are focused on ensuring we have the right partners who truly reflect what the brand stands for.

MINI's new partnership with Neale Whitaker

MM: Looking forward, how will this new partnership influence future marketing initiatives for MINI in Australia?

Our partnership with Neale Whitaker will elevate everything we do with the new MINI Countryman. Through dedicated content, it will provide audiences with the opportunity to experience how it aligns with Neale’s lifestyle, his travels and how he customises the new Countryman to suit his personal preferences. This content will be amplified across our social and digital activity when communicating the key features with target audiences.

As an expert in interior design, Neale will also be able to highlight features reflected in MINI’s ‘Next Generation’ range which dictate and lead design trends in the broader market – truly bringing to life MINI’s new design language: Charismatic Simplicity.

With his rich history with the MINI brand, Neale will evolve with the new Countryman communicating any advancements that have evolved over time to support his lifestyle needs.

Nikesh Gohil is the Head of Marketing for MINI Australia and MINI New Zealand. Nikesh joined MINI in 2016 as the Brand and Partnership Marketing Manager, successfully implementing multiple partnerships with brands including QT Hotels, Arts Centre Melbourne and the Melbourne International Film Festival.

In his current role, Nikesh leads the development and implementation of launching MINI’s new generation of vehicles, including three all-new electric models. The launch of an entirely new model line-up for the iconic British brand has already kicked off with the MINI Countryman and will continue to include the new MINI Cooper and all new model, the MINI Aceman.

Imagery supplied by MINI.

Also, read about a new partnership set to revolutionise the OOH industry.


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Billy Klein

Billy Klein is a content producer at Niche Media.

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