A few days ago, we had the unfortunate case of MG Motor UK deciding that the current Horsemeat scandal that’s gripping Britain would be a great opportunity to go out and try and sell a few cars. The ensuing controversy, which spread around the community before heading back to the mothership at Longbridge (and then Shanghai) highlighted what can only be described as a lack of professionalism within the Sales Centre, did no good for MG Motor UK – although we’re still waiting to see if the (rapidly withdrawn) ploy resulted in any additional car sales. Or just bollockings.
Well, it looks like MINI has decided that Horsegate is a great selling opportunity not to be missed, and followed in MG Motor UK’s heels, even if it’s been done somewhat more professionally. As you can see from the full page advert (left), that I really didn’t enjoy stumbling on this weekend, it’s taking very much the same line as MG’s effort, although missing the wonderful clipart horse, for added cheesiness.
Since the beginning of Horsegate, I’ve had a few (not hundreds, but a few) emails from overseas readers asking what all the fuss is about. One regular, who lives in Slovenia, said that horse is indeed delicious and some of the best burgers in Ljubljana are served at the Hot Horse. Problem is that, here in the UK, we’re not culturally horse eaters and choose not to partake – although we’re happy to eat baby sheep like there’s no tomorrow. He found this puzzling, saying, ‘you treat them like pets?’ But that’s not the point – it would be nice to be told that we’re eating horse beforehand and be given the choice.
Of course, I digress – and the point here is that the UK’s national shame is probably not the best subject for an advertising and publicity campaign. After all, what Horsegate has show us is that us Brits are desperate for the cheapest products available and yet don’t like it when we find that suppliers cut corners in order to meet the bottom line. It’s been an increasing fact of business life for sometime now and it’s probably a good thing in the long run that the matter has been brought to the attention of the public.
What this has to do with MINI and its John Cooper Works Coupe is unclear, other than an attempt at a pithy advertising strapline, but I suspect that this effort above may in fact annoy the sensitivities of those who the company is seeking to attract into its cars. And that’s a shame. When I first saw the advert, I groaned inwardly – and found myself saying (again) to no one in particular, ‘it’s hard to love MINI’.
And I bloody own one!
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.