Inside The MINI Pitch

This is a must read. BusinessWeek reports on the MINI pitch, and the creativity of the pitch process itself.

There was plenty of face time and driving but the agencies were also required to perform in front of one another as each tried to impress the client-to-be, an unheard-of concept in the notoriously competitive ad world. “You don’t expect the client in these situations to be creative…that’s what they want us for,” says Scott Goodson, president of Strawberry Frog, one of the four contenders.
First, each team had to introduce themselves and create interesting name tags on the spot. The team from New York-based Mother put pictures of their actual mothers on tags. Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (BSSP) of Sausalito, Calif., in a nod to socially correct recycling and frugality, they riffed, reused plain name tags from a meeting the previous week.
Then each team took turns answering questions that tested improv skills. “If Arnold Schwarzenegger runs for President, who should be his running mate?” went one game question. (Strawberry Frog’s team was divided between Sylvester Stallone and Papa Smurf.)
They also were sent out into nasty rainy weather to drive MINI Coopers and go on a kind of scavenger hunt for ideas and props to be used for a scrapbook. The book would tell a MINI story that the agencies and the client would all review over cocktails. Butler Shine’s scrapbook centered on a story about a mannequin the team named Darlene, which it snitched from a local electronics store. Darlene and team motored in a MINI to a pumpkin patch, but the caper ended up, for real, with the team being grilled at the local police station. “It was unusual to mix it up with your competitors, but being small and independent, we are all kind of members of the same club,” said BSSP Creative Director Michael Shine.

Can’t say I’ve heard anything quite like this, although there are plenty of new biz stories out there.

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for Dan published the best of his columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. How can really good agencies be reduced to responding to client whim’s such as this? This sounds more like a sorority recruiting scheme than hiring an agency for their talent… When are agencies going to say “enough” and tell bad clients to stuff it?

  2. See what being perceived as a commodity gets you?
    But it does remind me of Steven Wright’s bit about being interviewed for a job:
    Interviewer (after asking a bunch of specious questions, similar to the ones you posted): So? Do you have any questions that you’d like to ask me?
    Wright: Umm. Yea. If I’m driving my car at the speed of light and I turn on my headlights, will anything happen?
    Interviewer: I don’t know?
    Wright: Then I certainly don’t want to work for you.

  3. That’s equally dim witted – perhaps Wright should be mixing it up with the marketing idiots at MINI…

  4. Sounds full of effort.

  5. Jason Wright says:

    Dance, monkeys, Dance!

  6. Wow… it sounds to me like they hired an agency to come up with creative ways to look for an agency. And that agency came up with a mix between the dating game and fear factor.

  7. En annorlunda pitch

    Hur Butler vann Mini-kontot.
    En intressant kreativ pitch d

  8. That’s so cool of MINI of making us creatives look so stupid! we deserve that!