MINI Cooper: Covert Data Gathering

By | May 5, 2015

I recently read a case study on a smart multichannel campaign by BMW utilizing personalized URLs. It’s an older campaign, but a good one, and there is an interesting lesson about the use of survey questions that we can all draw from.

It’s true that consumers are becoming more and more comfortable giving out personal data if they feel they are getting something in exchange. At the same time, there is data gathering ennui, too. If you are a consumer, everybody wants a piece of you. Giving out information gets old.

That’s why I liked the way that BMW gathered key information on its target audience. The campaign was designed to encourage MINI Cooper owners to re-up their leases when it came time for renewal. BMW launched a game called MINI-O-Poly, an online take-off of the classic game that allowed the company to gather information while letting people earn prizes.

Just before their two-year lease renewal, owners of BMW MINIs received an email invitation to play MINI-O-Poly. To play, they logged into a personalized URL where the first step was to choose their MINI Avatar — a MINI Cooper, MINI Convertible, or MINI Countryman. In doing so, the target audience told BMW which MINI they would be most likely to repurchase.

To play, consumers would continue to answer questions, enabling them to “roll the dice” to move around the board and win.

This is a smart, innovative way to use personalized URLs. It gives the audience genuine value for their time and it gives the marketer valuable information for targeting. But it does it in a creative way that doesn’t make consumers feel that they are being dissected either.

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