Once every four years, Americans go batshit crazy. As the Summer Olympics and presidential elections converge into a cacophony of red white and blue, it’s both a time when people come together for love of country while simultaneously trying to rip each other’s necks out for their stance on immigration.
That’s why we love this new campaign by car manufacturer MINI, featuring a diverse cast of U.S. Olympians. Some were told they were too small to compete, or that they were too dumb, or grew up feeling ostracized because of their race or religion. Appropriately titled #DefyLabels, the campaign was first introduced around Super Bowl 50, but it’s back just in time for the Rio Games and 30-second TV spots will be airing in August throughout the Olympics.
In an age of name calling and online bullying, confronting labels and being proud of who you are is an awesome message to be sending. These athletes have been called “too small,” “too muscular,” or pigeon holed as the “Muslim athlete who wears a hijab” or the “Latino boxer.” The message of #DefyLabels is that for these men and women, the only label that matters is “U.S. Olympian.”
This is a pretty smart campaign for MINI, which certainly is a car brand that has a pretty specific set of stereotypes attached to it. If these athletes can help shed labels, MINI hopes they can shift their brand away from feeling like a small, compact European car that lacks the horsepower Americans want. And if you’ve seen a MINI over the past few years, they are really not that small. A Ford Focus is only about 2 inches wider and 2 inches taller than the 2017 MINI, yet we still think of the MINI as well…mini.
Check out one of the #DefyLabels videos below, featuring Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.