From Marketing Magazine Some wild and crazy things happen on Calgary's Bow River every summer, but locals would be hard pressed to recall something as unique as Ryley the Mini's journey downstream on a rubber raft last Friday. Ryley's excellent adventure was the latest phase of the quirky Adopt a Mini brand marketing campaign for Mini Crowfoot, a local Mini Cooper dealership. Instead of the usual marketing messages about price and options, Dilawri Group, which owns Crowfoot and 29 other non-Mini dealerships across Canada, focused on the special relationship between the boxy little cars and their owners, explained Jill Petrovic, marketing manager for Dilawri. "Mini owners think of their cars as friends and part of the family. They form a special social community with other Mini owners to go on rides and social outings." Many Mini owners also name their vehicles, said Petrovic, which provided the inspiration for Adopt a Mini. Each month, Crowfoot uses print ads to introduce a new Mini such as Charlotte, described as "incredibly sweet and charming and looking for someone to hit the mall with." And when a customer buys a car and names it, they get an official adoption certificate and all post-sale communications from the dealership refer to the car by name. In the spring, Mini Crowfoot introduced Charlie, its goodwill ambassador around town to various charitable events. And now comes Ryley, whose trip down the Bow on two rubber rafts garnered numerous stories on local TV and radio stations. Petrovic said Adopt a Mini has raised the awareness of the Mini brand in Calgary, and that Dilawri intends to continue the campaign. "We would love to fly a specially built fiberglass Mini above the city or maybe we'll create a Mini super hero. Who knows?"