- Photo: Mini
Spike, the classic bulldog from the world of Mini, is becoming a digital co-pilot.
Mini aims to open a new chapter in customer engagement and user experience with its digital interpretation of Spike. The beloved animal companion has been part of the car manufacturer’s marketing efforts since its inception under the leadership of the BMW Group in 2001. Now, 22 years later, Spike becomes an interactive companion in the cockpit and secures a permanent spot in the newly introduced infotainment system, featuring a round OLED central display with touchscreen functionality, through its own “Spike Mode.” The virtual bulldog is intended not only to assist Mini drivers with useful interactions to reach their destinations more efficiently but also to strengthen their emotional connection to the brand.
“Mini will always stand for emotions and special experiences,” says Oliver Heilmer, Head of Mini Design. “That’s why we are now transitioning Spike into the future as a digital character. And he’s not just a design element but will become a characterful companion of the user experience.”
The idea of using a digital companion as a means of customer engagement is not new, but Mini’s implementation is creative and original. The brand has also introduced a physical art toy in the Spike design. This figurine is meant to accompany Mini owners in a playful way outside the cockpit as well. Mini has not revealed the exact range of functions yet, but it is conceivable that Mini pilots can control various vehicle functions through voice commands using the physical Spike figurine from their homes, such as receiving route recommendations from the onboard navigation system.
Spike made its debut at the international Auto Shanghai exhibition in the spring of 2023, showcased in the Mini Concept Aceman. The presence of Spike in the cockpit of all new Mini models from 2023 to 2024 has already been announced.