NEW MEDIA: Mini plans web drive

Rover is to launch a dedicated global web site to support the launch of the new Mini in 2000, and is overhauling its current Mini site to give it a UK focus.

Rover is to launch a dedicated global web site to support the

launch of the new Mini in 2000, and is overhauling its current Mini site

to give it a UK focus.



The company has appointed AKQA, which has created other sites for Rover

Group and its owner BMW, to create and manage both Mini web sites. AKQA

won the business after a four-way pitch, which included the incumbent,

APL Digital.



The Mini web site was originally designed as a global brand site, and

won a number of major UK awards, including best commercial site at the

Yell UK Web Awards. The loss of the account will be a blow to APL

Digital.



Mini’s UK web site will go live in February next year and is aimed at

the Mini enthusiast. New features will include a merchandising

directory, which will direct users to the best places to find car

accessories, and a facility that will allow Mini owners to add extra

components to their car online. By allowing customers to design a Mini

to their own specification via the site, Rover believes that the brand

proposition ’Express Yourself’ can be transmitted to potential

customers.



The UK site will include a games and entertainment section and a

discussion forum, from which it aims to capture e-mail addresses and

build a database of addresses for future use.



Mini’s global web site, which will focus on the new Mini model currently

codenamed R50, will go live in the first quarter of next year. It will

have links to other Rover sites and will be heavily advertised

online.



The launch of the new Mini and the upgrading of its web presence is part

of the company’s attempt to promote the car as a cool, contemporary

brand.



The car’s core values have always been about excitement and

individuality but Rover is concerned that its clear identification with

the swinging 60s might obscure efforts to update the brand.



Rover launched four sites at the beginning of the year. Two sites focus

exclusively on Land Rovers and MGs, the other two provide general

information about Rover cars and corporate information.



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