It's also supporting a great cause.
Mini is no stranger to fun car ads. The British car brand has always used cheeky humor to get people excited about its little people movers, and this year to celebrate Earth Day, it continued that trend by debuting the 2023 Mini Cooper Electric Hardtop with another fun ad and an all-new paint color that may be the world's first polar bear-inspired paint. The campaign sees the electric Mini driving down the road with an adorable polar bear character in the passenger seat with its head out the window.
The whole goal of the commercial was to humorously show that the Mini EV is still the same fun, quirky car the combustion-powered version has always been while also featuring a partnership with Polar Bears International to encourage eco-adoptions from Mini lovers. Like most things in life, the idea evolved from there. Social media got involved, and one thing led to another, resulting in Mini's newest color option: Nanuq White.
Once fans saw the ad for the first time, they implored the manufacturer first to give the polar bear a name, which the brand did, so Nanuq was born. Then it turned Nanuq into a bobblehead for your car; because who doesn't want a little polar bear in their car bobbing its head to your tunes? Finally, Mini saw the chance for one last move, so it took the shade of Nanuq's fur and turned it into a new Mini paint color named after the adorable character. Nanuq White is available at no cost, while the Cooper SE starts at $34,225.
Other changes for the new model year included various color updates and a few special editions, all of which were announced earlier in the year.
"This was supposed to be a story about a car that is good for the environment and super fun to drive," said PJ Pereira, Creative Chairman at the agency behind the campaign, Pereira O'Dell. "Maybe about the charm of this not-so-little mascot too. But then it snowballed into an even better story about enthusiasm, passion, and creativity of the Mini community."
It's a great example of what can happen when the ad campaign works out much better than expected, and the power social media can have on new car designs, as we've seen in other places. The Mini brand has bred loyalty from its customers over decades, even though the Mini brand is far younger than the Mini car. But the Cooper SE still has a lot to prove if it's to live up to the standards set by its forebears.
Instead of using the latest of BMW's electric powertrain technology, it uses the setup from the old BMW i3. That nets it a respectful 184 horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque but an abysmal 114 miles of range.
Mini plans to go all-electric by 2030, and the next big step towards that will be the all-new Mini Cooper Electric Hardtop debuting in 2024. Unlike the current model, this one was developed from the ground up to be an EV, so it will most likely be much more efficient than the current model and will expand on its charm. Hopefully, we'll hear more about the model soon, but while we wait, we can donate and help save the polar bears since this is their home too.
With the partnership with Polar Bear International, anyone that donates $40 or more to the organization in November will receive a Nanuq bobblehead and a thank you card. Those pre-ordering the electric Mini Cooper SE in November will also receive a bobblehead. Sounds like a great deal to us.