Mini USA is promoting its latest offbeat marketing effort with cable TV commercials. The campaign offers a spoof warning about "counterfeit" Mini Coopers.
The automaker also has created a DVD, print advertisements and a Web site (counterfeitmini.org) for the campaign. It exposes an allegedly growing trade in fake Mini sporty small cars.
The Cooper, the tongue-in-cheek campaign suggests, belongs in the exclusive league of Rolex and Gucci watches and Harley-Davidson motorcycle accessories as a victim of knockoff merchandise.
The so-called Counter Counterfeit Commission posts photos on the Web site of preposterous vehicles with phony Mini badges.
Mini began running ads for the $19.99 DVD in February on a variety of cable networks. They include ESPN, MTV, Spike TV, Speed Channel, Sci-Fi Channel and Outdoor Life Network. The DVD offers humorous hints about detecting a fake Mini Cooper. It also provides product information about genuine Mini signature traits.