MINI Pulls Defy Labels Campaign (#DefyLabels)

Defy Labels - MINI

It was this time last year when we first met “Defy Labels”. The campaign by MINIUSA was a highlight in their marketing. Featuring celebrities, athletes, MINI owners and more, the minds at MINI and Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners (MINIUSA’s creative agency) put together an impressive package of materials ahead of Super Bowl 50.

Defy Labels – Super Bowl

Round one of the Defy Labels campaign featured several components; A 30 second Super Bowl spot featuring Serena Williams, Abby Wambach, Tony Hawk, Randy Johnson, T-Pain and Harvey Keitel was the highlight of the package.

Numerous interviews were shared on YouTube and social networks where MINI owners and celebrities discussed how they overcame being labeled unjustly, or unfairly. Finally, an online competition featuring multiple rounds of voting awarded a new MINI Cooper lease to Littleton, Colorado MINI owner, Chris Chappell.

Defy Labels – Olympics

A second part of Defy Labels was launched just in time for the 2016 Summer Olympics. This time featuring US athletes participating in the Rio Games. Featured athletes included:

  • Morghan King – Weightlifting
  • Jake Gibb – Volleyball
  • Ibtihaj Muhammad – Fencing
  • Cullen Jones – Swimming
  • Carlin Isle – Rugby
  • Serena Williams – Tennis
  • Carlos Balderas -Boxing
  • Claressa Shields – Boxing

US Olympics - MINI USA - Defy Labels

Although both ads got airtime during the Olympics, there never seemed to be a large push to promote the later half of the campaign.

Controversy and Reception

Defy Labels did face a minor controversy when retired soccer star Abby Wambach was arrested for driving under the influence shortly after the ads began to air. Wambach’s video interview and clips were quickly removed from all materials.

Amongst MINI owners and community members, the campaign wasn’t highly received. The polished clean look, and serious nature was a step outside the association of high energy, and fun that many MINI drivers enjoy about the brand.

Farewell Defy Labels

Unfortunately while researching some details for a recent story on Serena Williams, it was noticed that all the Defy Labels videos from the official MINI USA YouTube channel were gone. All but a single page (with broken YouTube links) on referring to Defy Labels is also gone. which was home to the contest mentioned above and other related content now redirects to

Contract’s with “actors” and other personalities may have limited how long those videos could stay live. For such a large and expensive project, it would have been nice to see them stick around a little longer. In the meantime, we have archived the few videos from Defy Labels we could find in a playlist.

Unknown is if MINIUSA will drop the entire campaign for something new. Maybe a new round of videos is in the works.

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Mike Bober has been involved in many aspects of the MINI Community, including working with multiple national series racing teams. He currently owns his first MINI, an R53 "Ramsey", a R60 Countryman "Lauda", and a F56 "Stanton". Previously owned was an R59 Roadster "Winnie". -- Along with many other major MINI events, Mike recently completed his second coast-to-coast MINI Takes The States event.

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