MINI Names a Winter Storm, Reaps a Disaster

Great marketing is often a balancing act. Play it too safe and you’re boring. Push the envelope too much, and you’ll embarrass your brand and even lose customers. Sometimes, it’s the little, seemingly innocuous things that can blow up in the marketer’s face. Take for instance, a recent sponsorship stunt undertaken by one of MINI’s European agencies, Sassenbach. The German Institute of Meteorology offered “Adopt-a-Vortex”, where companies can do a naming sponsorship on a storm front for an economical €299. What would be the harm? The proceeds even help fund Berlin’s Free University. A front blows through, your name is on it during the weather reports. Cheap advertising, right? Well it’s all fun and games until your sponsored front (called “Cooper”) turns out to be a major winter storm and kills more than 100 people across Europe.


Unfortunately, when you sponsor a front through the “Adopt-a-Vortex”, you get to help in the naming, but you don’t get to pick your storm. BMW has apologized for the stunt and expressing regrets for the lives lost in the storm. Here’s hoping that the chaps at Sassenbach don’t lose their nerve, but let’s also hope MINI’s next big marketing stunt goes better.

  • JonPD

    Still had to wonder who thought naming it after your product was a good idea, maybe they should have called it Fiat lol.

  • Bilbo Baggins

    Life is a crap shoot.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you loose.  Just bad luck.  It was an interesting idea.  Gets the brand name onto the air many times which is normally a good thing.  Has the brand name appearing on all of the airwaves, AM & FM radio, all of the TV news and weather channels.  Not bad for 300 euros. Would have been a deal I would have taken.

  • jbkONE

    It’s not funny that this storm killed people or anything, but sponsoring a storm and then having it blow up (pun intended) in your face is hilarious IMO.  OOPS!  I’m trying to think up all kins of puns… some inapropriate so I won’t type them here.

    It’s sad that now we’re sponsoring weather phenomenon!  Good lord, can a minute go by without some damn brand name being put into my brain?  Get off my weather!

  • Anonymous

    I can’t help but think of David Letterman when I hear about this story. Before he became a star he was a weatherman in Indianapolis and got in trouble for congratualting a tropical storm for being upgraded to a hurricane.

  • My keyboard stutters.

  • “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!!!” — Arthur Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati

  • otter

    I guess it is better than if they had named the storm MINI.

    • Volkan

      That would have been even more awkward. “A MINI storm killed 100 in Europe”

  • Anonymous

    It has been f-ing cold here, sorry for the explicit language but seriously it has been really cold in Germany for a while now thanks to this storm- which I thought coincidently was being called Cooper- but since MINI officially named it I have two questions: Why on earth would anyone purposely name a WINTER STORM? What good ever comes from such a thing?