The Little Gopher That Could: How Being Not So Normal Paid Off Big

Humans are competitive by nature. Throughout history, as a species, we’ve been competing in one way or another whether that’s with each other or nature. So it came as no surprise to us when one of our clients – Princeton Mini – approached us and said that they “had to” win a regional OEM contest being held in conjunction with a national sales event, and enlisted our assistance.

The “Not So Normal” sales event held by Mini was designed to advertise the exceptionally high gas mileage that Mini Coopers have. The contest itself was between the dealerships and they were given little guidance other than being creative and not so normal.

The dealership already had a huge head-start in the contest deciding on building a custom-made miniature golf course (Mini golf course, get it?). The employees themselves built this very creative and elaborate 9-hole course spending their own free time to do so. The contest was to culminate in a dealership event promoting the “Not So Normal” sale and was to be judged by the regional representatives from Mini via pictures and videos of the event.

After brainstorming with the General Manager, Robert Ogust, we came up with a “Caddyshack” theme to build up on the miniature golf course they had created. We scripted out the video based on scenes from the classic movie and incorporated the infamous gopher and make the event even less “normal”. The plot was that the gopher was going to infiltrate the dealership and they needed to get rid of it.

We attended the event and filmed the scenes needed with the employees playing the various roles and to photograph the event. The dealership really went all out for this event. It was very apparent that they had put a lot of time and effort into it. They had given each golf hole Mini-inspired name such as Mini Mulligan, Fore Wheel Drive and Cooper Chute. The employees were all wearing these, for lack of better words, not so normal golf costumes. They had music playing, catered food (including a chocolate fountain), a bounce house and even threw in some large, stuffed sumo wrestling outfits at the end. They were even successful in getting customers to participate in doing some “not so normal” things on camera!

The event was a great success with everyone attending – from employees to customers – having a great time and the dealership making sales. In the end, Princeton Mini ended up winning the contest. Instead of keeping the $3500, the staff at MINI decided to donate their winnings to the Red Cross to help the many people in NJ impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Princeton MINI’s generosity was matched by their parent company, Asbury Automotive Group, and MINI for a total donation to the Red Cross of $10,500.

It goes to show what a little imagination, commitment, elbow grease and fun can earn you. Sometimes it pays to be “not so normal”… and have a pet gopher.

…and if you’d like to see the fun video, you can check it out by clicking here!

Originally published in the January 2013 edition of the 3 Birds Marketing newsletter

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