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Are Mini's Hammer & Coop gay?

Posted by: Burth Helm on April 13, 2007

I laughed when I read this New York Times story today about “gay” cars. The whole notion is pretty silly, but I was amused because it reminded me of a conversation I’d had with Mini’s advertising agency last summer (the Mini Cooper, along with the new Volkswagen Beetle, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, and the Subaru Outback were all outed in the story). During that chat, creative directors John Butler and Mike Shine stopped me in my tracks after I referred to the Mini as “cute,” and compared it to the new Beetle. Butler elaborated. “Remember Fight Club?” he said, referencing a scene in which Brad Pitt and Ed Norton savagely beat a Beetle with baseball bats. “In the theater I was in, everybody laughed at that part. We never want Mini to become that Fight Club joke.” “Cute” is verboten.

These guys want a masculine Mini. Just check out their latest ad campaign for Mini, a mock 70’s cop show called “Hammer and Coop.”

blog cooper.jpg

So is this an uber-heterosexual throwback? Or exquisite gay camp? It’s masculine, anyway. Gay car or not, they’ve found a way to please everybody.*

*Except for Kiley, who explains why he hates this campaign here.

Reader Comments

Guerrilla Communication

April 26, 2007 11:35 AM

The Hammer & Coop campaign is quite interesting and has created quite a debate on the biggest MINI Cooper forum called NAM or

The other MINI microsite called is a bit less controversial.


November 9, 2007 11:00 AM

For some reason, the aversion to the word "cute" and uber-heterosexual throwbacks hint of insecurity. Just like in pop psychology, people comfortable with their sexuality have no need or desire to prove who they are. Actual psychology is a different matter of course, but generally people perceive someone who's out to prove he or she is not gay by any means possible regardless of how little his or her sexuality is questioned, as having something to prove or deny.

For instance, what's so bad with the word "cute?" I use that word all the time to refer to women who are not a picture perfect image of a slender runway model and have a certain down to earth charm and magnetism.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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