High fuel prices or no, MINI offers a solid entertainment-to-efficiency ratio. The neo-teeny MINI is fun to fling around, and if you can keep your boot out of the turbocharged engine in the Cooper S, you can have your fuel economy and eat it, too. To emphasize this point, MINI is launching a new campaign focused around what it calls the Carfun Footprint, and the new ad push includes its own website and new print ads and billboards with typically clever MINI taglines. If you're curious to see how your current vehicle stacks up against the MINI's Carfun quotient, head on over to carfunfootprint.com and plug in your vehicle info. Of course, you're not going to score as high as the R56, but you expected that, didn't you? At least MINI has avoided getting all preachy and kept its trademark whimsy intact. Lengthy press release after the jump.

[Source: MINI]


MINI USA Asks: 'What's Your Carfun Footprint?'

New Marketing Approach Highlights MINI's Fun-to-Drive, Fuel-Efficient Premium Small Cars and Challenges Consumers to Do More with Less

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- "What's Your Carfun Footprint?" A new marketing campaign from MINI USA and its agency Butler Shine Stern & Partners (BSSP) poses this very question and highlights that driver's don't have to sacrifice fun for fuel efficiency. MINI USA defines Carfun Footprint as: "A measurement of how much fun your car is versus how much impact it has on the environment."

Spreading MINI's philosophy of maximizing fun while minimizing impact, the new campaign underscores these principles inherent to its brand and products from the beginning. The Classic Mini, born out of the post-World War II oil crisis that sent fuel prices soaring in the late-1950s, struck the perfect balance between fuel efficiency, functionality and fun -- an approach that's just as relevant now as it was then.

"For nearly 50 years, MINI owners have enjoyed cars that are at once fuel-efficient -- up to 37 mpg -- and fun-to-drive. In the face of today's escalating gasoline costs more people than ever are expressing renewed interest in the original premium small car," said Jim McDowell, Vice President, MINI USA. "What they'll find through the new campaign is that the third-party data validates their choice -- MINI cars outrank all other makes and models by the Carfun Footprint measure."

The centerpiece of the campaign is an interactive online application, the Carfun Footprint Calculator, now launched at http://www.carfunfootprint.com/ in early August, which will enable consumers to input their vehicle makes and models to determine their scores and see how their vehicles stack up against nearly 200 other models.

Animation, narration and a good dose of MINI-brand humor bring the Carfun Footprint Calculator to life -- engaging the consumers, inviting them to be part of a relevant conversation, and empowering them with the information they need to minimize their environmental impact -- no matter what vehicle they drive.

Carfun Footprint = 50% Fun + 50% Green

The Carfun Footprint score is derived from a sophisticated formula incorporating third-party data from Strategic Vision Inc.'s New Vehicle Experience Study(TM) (NVES), a syndicated study allowing new vehicle owners to rate their experiences; the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Vehicle Guide, which provides environmental scores and standardized test data for cars and trucks related to emission levels and fuel economy; and AutoData Corporation's vehicle curb weight data is tapped to estimate manufacturing impacts.

Once the Carfun Footprint score has been calculated, consumers may select more options:

-- Improve -- recommends the optimal strategy for making significant strides, driving a 37-mpg MINI Cooper, and provides a link to www.MINIUSA.COM for more information about the cars in MINI's line-up;

-- Green Motoring Tips -- allows consumers to enter their e-mail addresses to subscribe to universal tips for lowering environmental impact regardless of vehicle make or model;

-- Share -- lets consumers pass the calculator on to friends via e-mail or through popular social networking web sites; and

-- MINIMALISM -- directs consumers to www.MINIUSA.COM/MINIMALISM.

MINIMALISM is MINI's global philosophy of "doing more with less." It encompasses equipping MINI cars with innovative engine technologies and other improvements that significantly reduce fuel consumption without compromising fun and designing and engineering for optimum recyclability.

The Carfun Footprint conversation begins with a print ad which describes the Carfun Footprint philosophy and sets the tone for the campaign. The copy opens with "It's Time to Drive Like There is a Tomorrow," goes on to offer a vision for maximizing driving fun while minimizing impact, and closes with "It's time to think about our Carfun Footprint." The ad is slated to appear in August and September issues of select auto enthusiast and lifestyle publications, such as: Automobile, Best Life, Car & Driver, ESPN, GOOD, Men's Fitness, Men's Journal, The New Yorker, Outside and SPIN.

In a unique collaboration with The New York Times and GOOD magazine, MINI USA will sponsor a special issue of GOOD to be inserted within a Sunday Edition of The New York Times this fall. This smaller version of GOOD, whose editorial mission is to promote those people, places and things that make a positive difference in the world, will offer a mix of past features along with original content, and will be distributed to more than 600,000 subscribers and newsstand purchasers in five major markets -- New York City, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Also in August and September, out-of-home marquee billboards and wallscapes will appear in MINI's five buzz markets to spread the word about www.CarfunFootprint.com, carrying the headlines "Drive Like There is a Tomorrow" and "More Turn. Less Burn."

The campaign's Launch print ads that will follow in September, October and November issues of auto enthusiast and lifestyle magazines, specifically ask "What's Your Carfun Footprint?" The creative copy goes on to explain the philosophy, introduce the methodology and point consumers to CarfunFootprint.com, where they will find the interactive Carfun Footprint Calculator and can determine their scores. These ads will run in Blender, European Car, Fast Company, Men's Health, Motor Trend, National Geographic Adventurer, The New Yorker, Ode, Plenty, Road & Track, Rolling Stone and SPIN.

Headline print ads bearing the headlines "Good. Clean. Fun." "Drive Like There is a Tomorrow." and "More Turn. Less Burn." will run in October and November issues of AutoWeek, Best Life, Blender, GOOD, Grassroots Motorsports and Paste. Special Headline ad treatments are scheduled for two media partner publications. Two vertical, half-page ads -- one reading "More Turn." and the other, "Less Burn." -- will be placed as bookends to editorial copy in the October issue of Men's Journal and the September 18th issue of Rolling Stone.