Take the MINI Countryman for a Joyride


Via Mobile Augmented Reality Campaign, Virtual MINI Goes Anywhere – iPhone App

Puts the MINI Countryman into View; See it in Wired, Facebook, iTunes Store, and More

SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2011) – Put convention aside, and make room for the magic of augmented reality, courtesy of Helios Interactive Technologies (www.heliosinteractive.com), the emerging leader in experience design.

Working in cooperation with Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners — marketing agency of record for MINI and developer of the creative concept — Helios today unveiled a mobile AR application for the iPhone (download here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/virtual-mini/id417870781?mt=8).

Epitomizing the versatility of the new MINI Countryman, users are able to take pictures of a superimposed “virtual MINI” Countryman in their garage, a parking spot, atop a high-rise, astride the Golden Gate Bridge, on the end of their toothbrush, anywhere.

The groundbreaking Virtual MINI app can be downloaded via a QR code included in a print ad in the March issue of Wired, and will be available through the iTunes Store, Facebook and MINIUSA.COM.  Scanning the ad’s QR code with their iPhone will take consumers directly to the application within the iTunes store.

Once downloaded, the application gives users the opportunity to select from one of four different colors and configurations of the MINI Countryman, superimposed on the live video feed from their phone’s built-in camera.  After resizing and rotating the customized 3D model into place, users can capture a snapshot of the scene to be saved to a photo gallery, providing options to share the image with their friends via Facebook or email.

From inception, this iPhone application was created simply to give consumers a utility to visualize the larger MINI Countryman in their garage,” said John Butler, Executive Creative Director of Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners. “It’s yet another example of MINI being an advertiser who is generally first to market integrating emerging technology with traditional media.  We’re thrilled with the results, and thoroughly enjoyed our collaboration with Helios.”

“The Virtual MINI app is designed to engage consumers in a fun, unique way,” said Mike Schaiman, Managing Partner and co-founder of Helios Interactive Technologies.  Founded in 2008, Helios harnesses an eclectic mix of interactive platforms, from augmented reality and gesture recognition, to multi-touch applications, mobile, social media, 3D display technologies and more.

“We expect people to take some interesting shots and have fun with the new MINI Countryman,” Schaiman said.  “In addition to being among the first automotive apps to integrate an AR campaign for mobile, the Virtual MINI app offers a quirky experience that fits the brand perfectly.   This is exactly the kind of interactive, innovative experience that promotes the brand loyalty MINI is famous for.”

About Helios Interactive Technologies

Helios Interactive Technologies (www.heliosinteractive.com) is a full-service display technology company that harnesses cutting-edge tools and platforms to attract, surprise and delight consumers with consistently engaging experiences.  Helios specializes in “experience design,” providing interactive displays that grab attention and engage consumers in memorable experiences, for such clients as Best Buy, HBO, the CW Television Network, Mercedes-Benz, Roche Diagnostics, and Sprint, among others.  Founded in 2008, Helios is based in San Francisco.

About Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners

BSSP (www.bssp.com) is a full-service marketing communications agency based in Sausalito, CA. The agency provides services in advertising, online marketing and Web development, brand identity and design, and strategic brand consulting. One of the largest independent agencies on the West Coast, BSSP is recognized for its ability to provide highly creative, fully accountable marketing solutions to a broad array of marketers, including MINI Cooper, Priceline, RadioShack, AT&T Interactive, Piperlime, Columbia Sportswear, Greyhound, Mountain Hardwear and Sorel.

MINI in the US

MINI is an independent brand of the BMW Group. In the United States, MINI USA operates as a business unit of BMW of North America, LLC which has been present in the United States since 1975.  Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 138 BMW motorcycle retailers, 104 MINI passenger car dealers, and 30 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.  Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:  http://www.bmwgroupna.com

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Journalist note: Information about the BMW Group and its products is available to journalists on-line at the BMW Group PressClub at the following address: http://www.press.bmwna.com.  Additional information, images and video may be found at http://www.miniusanews.com.

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Helios media contact:

Ken Greenberg

Edge Communications, Inc.




Toyota Augments its Mini iQ too

We were all impressed by last year’s Mini advertising campaign using Metaio’s Augmented Reality technology. It featured  in the top spot of my Top 10 Milestones in Augmented Reality for 2008

Toyota couldn’t afford staying behind and had “one upped” BMW with a more sophisticated ad for its own mini – the iQ.

In the augmented world, the car drives on a road – and is blown up to reveal all its parts. Or in Toyota’s own words:

interact with the car to discover its agility and interior space.


Give it up for the  “iQ_Reality“:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Now try it for yourself on Toyota’s site.


Rouli brings to our attention that Nissan didn’t stay behind and just introduced its Cube brochure:

Yet a new update from Le5emeP: another auto maker to play with AR advertising is Citroen with its C3:

Lastly is Ford with its own mini – the Ka:

A new addition (2009) to the AR cars phenomena with an artistic angle for the BMW Z4:


Now we have a complete round up, which one do you like best?