Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
mini the car that zigs zags zugs

TTAC is proud to bring you another "What the Hell Were They Thinking?™" moment. First, the facts. To launch MINI's new Clubman (an ugly ass vehicle boasting the world's smallest suicide doors), California-based advertising agency Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners have unleashed " ZIG. ZAG. ZUG." As you no doubt already guessed, the slogan is part of a host of so clever they require an entire explanatory paragraph to describe them print and "guerrilla" marketing campaigns (e.g. teaser billboards and "The Book of ZUG"). Now, the kvetch. Why would MINI want to riff on the Cadillac Catera– an "entry level" rebadged version of the Opel Omega MV6 that almost single-handedly destroyed the Cadillac brand? Students of automotive history will recall that the abomination was advertised as "The Cadillac that Zigs." That's like selling a new soup based on a brand known for botulism. Also, ZUG? Zug is a town in Switzerland. And while I'm sure the comedy website will appreciate the business, why would such an internet-friendly car brand miss that opportunity? If you need an alternative place to file this story, how about "Too clever for their own good."

[BMW "respectfully declined" our request for an interview on this campaign.]

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4 of 32 comments
  • Jpau Jpau on Feb 22, 2008

    What's the problem with it? Maybe they'll get some customers who aren't happy with the direction Toyota/Scion took the xB.

  • Jerseydevil Jerseydevil on Feb 22, 2008

    kazoomaloo hmmmmm. I know I can not entirely escape the ads, what would i do if i was not told how to feel about different products. However, i do not buy prepared food. cans can say whatever they want. there are lots of billboards here, most advertising television programs that i will never see. echo busses. Sometimes football players advertise things. I don't watch foorball. I dont care what they like. as for ttac ads, they pop up, i x them out. sometimes they are really funny tho. No offense. I have enough stuff, i don't really need any more. I'm telling u its a little bit of heaven not knowing what the ads are advertising.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Feb 25, 2008

    JerseyDevil: GOOD for you!!! My family & I try hard to keep the influence of those ads out of our lives too. It is amazing how rough some of those kids ads are on families who let them become an influence in their spending. Fast forward on the DVR helps ALOT. Keeping the Disney trap at arm's length helps alot too. We watch the movies sometimes but we keep the Disney addiction tamed. Movies by mail helps alot too. We watch only a small bit of live TV. I spent three blissful years as a single man stationed in Italy (1991-1994). Didn't watch much TV because I was so busy wrenching on my cars and sightseeing, didn't have a phone, listened either to Italian radio, AFN (no commercials) or recorded music, watched movies instead of TV and the disconnect that all this created was wonderful. My mind was clear and free of the clutter caused by advertising and it's influences. I was amazed at how much time I had wasted before this consuming ad-laced entertainment. I had more fun with friends who were also "disconnected". We had BBQs, we played sports & games, we went places, we worked on our cars, we drank coffee, we really TALKED, and we met girls. I had a clear mind and time to really think about stuff for a change. Important stuff. I had time to read. During this period I did not follow any sports teams, did listen to alot of music on CD or Italian radio whose ads I did not understand, did watch some movies, but did not follow any TV series or hear any of the entertainment industry news. Did read the paper of course. Serious problems that a person ought to keep up with abounded then as now. Bliss... What I did watch were those Italian girls in their tight skirts and sweaters... A myriad of small, clever cars zipping around going very impressive rates of speed with tiny engines (120 mph with a 1.8L 90HP engine anyone?). And I did eat alot of really good food followed by good beers. Played darts. Walked the cities. Met people. Drove an Innocenti regularly (think original Mini), lusted after the re-issued Mini from the early 1990s, and I drool all over the current Mini. Made do with a '65 VW Beetle and later brought it back to TN with me. There are some Fiats I wanted to bring back too. FINALLY a small car in America with some style. If BMW can bring us a Mini why can't GM and Ford bring us more of their Euro-versions without making them a mere shadow of their original form? If BMW can make a profit on their Euro-imports, why not GM and Ford? At least we've got Saturn bringing in Opels. Hey - let's drop the Saturn name, save some dough and leave 'em Opels - okay? Same the money spent rebadging them! Daily driver happiness would be a driveway with a red Mini with stripes beside a Saturn Astra with a used Eurovan Weekender diesel in the garage on standby for roadtrips. Bliss... Spent the past week testing carpooling again. We did it for years only owning one daily driver but am trying it again. Takes a bit more time but we're saving a tank of gas per week. Yeah, more for you but that's eating out money for us. Try the big "disconnect" folks. We stay out of the "buy more stuff" loop and are happier for it. Don't try to keep up with anyone's stuff habits. Buy quality, make it last.

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Feb 25, 2008

    By the way, I still don't listen to regular radio in the car much - mostly podcasts, audiobooks, and recorded music - if anything at all. Some weeks I don't even turn on the radio choosing to listen to the car and the wind instead. Regular radio ads are maddening to me - especially the car dealer ads. A sale for every calendar holiday. "Come on down for our Anne Frank Kindgarten Graduation Day car sale! These are the best prices of the year!!!" And then they proceed to read a long paragraph of fine print in 3.5 seconds. "Come on down for the Salen Witch Trial celebration sale!!! The best prices of the year. You NEED the power and space found only in our Super-extended six door full-sized family heavy-duty 3 ton dually long bed four-wheel drive turbo diesel 16 speed speed automatic pickup with chrome accented trim package and NASCAR inspired handling package and interior entertainment package which features 5 wide screen flip down ceiling mounted LCD screens, 6 separate wireless headsets, 12 speaker surround sound with dual subwoofers and earplugs, GPS/ABS/EMS/CBS/QPS/On-Star and satellite radio which features 516 channels of anything you could want for your 18 minute drive to work, power 60/40 tailgate, 6-way hitch attachment system, dual chrome muffler bearings, high-temp neodymium plated plunkityvalve, gold accent cowcatcher and dual heated antennas! This truck is the newest hybrid to join the GM fleet and qualifies for federal tax rebate incentives. It is a multi-fuel vehicle using ethanol, diesel or coal! Be sure to ask about the free coal hopper extension that can be fitted at no extra charge for a limited time only between the cab and the bed. This enables the truck to operate at any location around the world in case you make a wrong turn at Albuquerque and find yourself in the mountains of Pakistan while towing your skiboat! As an added bonus this year's model does not require manual coal shovelling! Be sure to ask for our best terms and to see the invoice price! We're not making any money on these trucks folks - we're passing on factory pricing directly to you - the customer!!! This truck features an impressive 9 miles per gallon on the highway (using the $3,400 hybrid option!). That's an impressive 89% increase over last year's model so this is the truck to beat in these times of high fuel prices! Who needs a Corolla? We've got 192 of these in stock right now - so COME!! ON!! DOWN!! They won't last long!!!! (tagstaxesandregistartioncostextramonthlypaymentof$957.32isbasedonlow3%APRsubjectochangewithoutnotice.termof128monthsoruntiltheparentcompanyorcustomergoesbrokewhichevercomesfirstatwhichtimetotalpayementof$53000willbedueimmediatelyorthecompanywillrepossesthetruckandcrushitattheEV1provinggroundsinCA.Youmayalsochooseadifferentpayemnttermwhichallowsthedebttobetransferredtoyourchildrenupontheir18thbirthdayorsimplypaythebalanceoftheprincipalfromyoursocialsecurityaccountdirectly.) No thanks, I'll take something both sensible and fun like a Mini, a Mazda, a Opel Astra or Zafira, a CR-V or a VW Golf.