Hammer and Coop

Okay, it’s time to start talking about Mini. Yes, that Mini, the quirky sub-brand of BMW that’s putting out cars ranging from kinda-mini to really-large-mini.

First things first: Throughout this exercise I have been so impressed (SO IMPRESSED!) with Mini’s advertising efforts in the magazines that I tore apart. I’m sure they spent some big money on the ads, but their ads consistently featured pages of stickers or booklets or other inserts that make most other ads look like amateur hour.

I’m sure a lot of that praise goes to their advertising agency(ies) and not to Mini specifically, but most typical consumers don’t think that way so the clever ads surely helped boost the Mini image in the eyes of car buyers.

Today we’re looking at two ads from one such campaign. According to LibraryOfMotoring.com (a site I never knew existed before this project), Mini launched its “Hammer and Coop” campaign in February 2007.

The premise of the project was to apparently present a series of online episodes featuring the adventures of Jim Turtledove (who?) as “Hammer” and a Mini Cooper S as “Coop” (get it? “Coop” is short for Cooper? Sorry. Nevermind).

To promote the series, Mini published ads like this one:

Mini Ad from June 2007

Now, it’s a little difficult to tell from a scan of the ad, compressed into a flat image, but that big white graphic at the top middle of the ad? It’s an actual, detachable, iron-on decal that you can use. I know, because the ad is still in a folder on my desk. (The grey streaks on the left and right are the semi-permanent glue holding the decal to the paper.) That also explains why the decal is a little tilted — it’s completely separate from the black background.

No other ad I’ve seen has featured an iron-on decal! This is just a sample of the quality of Mini’s advertising efforts. How cool!

The back side of this page had the more obligatory text about the car itself:

And mixed into that text is the suggestion that we “Get some action at HammerAndCoop.com.”

But that’s not the only cool ad featuring the adventures of Mr. Hammer and his trusty automotive sidekick that I found in this endeavor. There was also this one from a May 2007 magazine:

Mini ad from May 2007

What you’re looking at is a glossy 8×10 promo photo for “Hammer And Coop.” Now, I highly doubt they signed each instance of this ad in every magazie in which it appeared, but it’s still a glossy photograph on thick paper, tucked in among other far more conventional ads.

Regardless of what you think of Minis, I’m confident everyone can be impressed at the marketing effort they put forth.

Again, the back of this ad has more information about what’s going on in the ad:

Plus, there’s the call to action to “Catch a new episode every week at HammerAndCoop.com.”

The ad also says something about this being “the next classic car/buddy TV show,” which would make you think Hammer and Coop will be around for a really long time. But I think we can all see where this is going. Bear with me.

It’s also worth mentioning that this is one of the very few ads in this endeavor that has more than one URL promoted. In addition to the HammerAndCoop.com reference, the background of this page is also sprinkled with diagonal references to MiniUSA.com (sort of like the manufacturer mark on actual photo paper), which was (and still is) Mini’s main marketing website for the U.S.

So with all that build-up, and with all that energy poured into an online video series, where does HammerAndCoop.com take us today?

Okay, that’s not terrible. Mini (or BMW?) still owns the HammerAndCoop.com domain so it (kinda) makes sense to redirect it to the main webpage at MiniUSA.com.

It’s a little sad to see that the Hammer And Coop content appears to be gone. Even searching for the episodes on the current site returns nothing I can see.

But on the very positive side, I’m glad to see that Mini hasn’t abandoned the domain entirely. Yes, they could link to those old Hammer And Coop episodes, but those are 13 years old by now — do they really have any relevance in Mini’s current marketing strategy? Perhaps not. Let the past live in the past.

At least the site from yonder years remains (somewhat) intact.

I’m going to leave one final note about Mini here. From what I have seen, their web strategy has consistently pointed customers to their main site, MiniUSA.com. And that’s great. That’s what a company should do.

But that also means that I don’t get to show you all the really great Mini advertisements I have saved as part of this exercise because they all direct viewers to an established, long-term domain.

With two exceptions (that we’ll talk about later), I really won’t dive too deep into Mini’s advertising in this endeavor because they were just so good about staying on brand and on point.

Ultimately, that’s a strong compliment to the Mini marketing team. Thank you for making my job harder.

Leave a Reply