A world first Mini Paceman concept store has opened in the heart of Melbourne fashion strip, Chapel Street, breathing life into the brand’s ‘new slant on things’ positioning.
The store will feature the wares of six international artists including a bespoke tailor and shoe designer, clothing and accessory creators as well as an architect, alongside the new vehicle.
The store is “truly unique” for the Mini brand, which has largely relied on above the line activities, Gabrielle Byfield, brand communications manager for Mini at BMW Group, said.
“This is not just a unique proposition locally for the MINI brand but indeed globally,” Byfield told B&T.
“MINI internationally do a lot of fabulous marketing executions that are ‘first in market’ however nothing like this so it is fair to say on this occasion with this style of activation we are first in market.”
The project brought together Mini’s advertising and media agencies, Ogilvy and Vizeum, as well as designers from Edwards Moore who created the retail space.
The store is not only a new slant on an automotive launch but also on retail, with all the featured collaborators chosen for their unique slant on their crafts.
“It is these collaborators/designers that our key target audience seek out and purchase their items to allow them to ‘stand out’ from the crowd and be ahead of the global trends,” Byfield said.
The store has been designed to position the Paceman as a “true style icon” for men aged between 34 and 45, who are the trend setters of their friendship group, Byfield explained.
This explains the store’s focus on men’s fashion with Ogilvy Melbourne’s creative group head, Fergus Donaldson, describing the vehicle as a “gentleman’s car”.
“The Mini is 50-50 in who it appeals to. But the Paceman is a bit more masculine, rugged and athletic in its look,” he told B&T.
The first products on display are from Andrew Chen’s New York based denim-label, 3Sixteen.
Following 3Sixteen will be Sam Huff, the co-founder of Portland-based leather accessories brand Tanner Goods, Dennis Ebeli of sock brand Alfredo Gonzales, bespoke tailor Timothy Everest, US footwear designer Mark McNairy and Danish architect Sigurd Larsen.
Each of the designers will be on hand for one week of the four that their work is on display, with staff trained on the products and the cars to run the store.
Ferguson said the shop will allow Mini’s target audience, who “are not very fond of dealerships”, to experience the car in a relaxed and creative environment.
Byfield said the space will allow consumers to see that the Mini is “more than a car”.
“Mini is a personality, it’s a lifestyle and we need to embrace this in all facets of our marketing.”
Ferguson said the client was on board with the idea from the start, despite Byfield admitting the project is “most certainly different to any other brand communication strategy we have embarked on in the past”.
When the concept was presented Byfield said the team knew “it was a winner straight away”.
“With a myriad of automotive brands out in market, it is important to now “stand out” from the crowd,” he added.
“Embarking on a more experiential style communication strategy as unique as this further extends our reach in the media with some fantastic PR coverage which sees the MINI PACEMAN and MINI brand up in the limelight far longer than a traditional press ad or TV would ever return.”
The campaign has an “in the know” feel about it, according to Ferguson who believes the store will attract in fashionable men from around Australia.
A special eight-page newspaper called The Pace has been created for the store by Men’s Style with the paper available in-store and in Men’s Style. A second edition of The Pace will run in the September 2 issue of the magazine.
For more on what car brands need to do to attract consumers today read B&T's feature 'Cars Get Digital' here.
The Mini Paceman concept store is at 250 Chapel Street, Melbourne. It opened on Saturday June 1, and will be operating for six months. For more details visit the Paceman’s microsite here.