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My Video Blog Proposal to BMW/Mini for the Mini E experiment


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BMW/Mini marketing had asked me to propose a video blog for the Mini-E experiment.

The Mini-E experiment is a year long endeavor to test the viability of an electric Mini automobile. Tests with real drivers who are leasing the vehicles are being held in Germany, the UK and US. The drivers were interviewed and vetted out ahead of time.

I proposed to document the year long process with an online video blog that would also be packaged as a documentary to be sold at dealerships. BMW already had a strong web presence, a interest in video blogs and a proven track record of selling high quality short films to their customers on DVD.

This project did no happen. Oh well. It was fun putting the proposal together. I tried to keep the tone of the proposal in line with their corporate culture. Don't know if I even came close. Hopefully this document will help someone else who is putting a presentation together for a similar project.

Contact Snehal at

Published in: Automotive, Sports, Technology

My Video Blog Proposal to BMW/Mini for the Mini E experiment

  1. 1. A Video Diary of the 1-year MINI-E experiment<br />Watch it now at<br />
  2. 2. THE TREATMENT<br />The MINI E Show is a weekly video capsule (3 to 4 minutes) that would appear on the MINI E Show website as part of a blog about the one-year experiment.<br /> <br />The MINI E Show follows the story of Snehal Patel, future buyer of a production MINI E. He is a real car fanatic who has been following the story of the electric car for years. <br /> <br />A documentary film maker himself, Snehal loved the story from the film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” It sparked in him a curiosity to find out more about the technology and the people who are in the thick of it. He already knew about AC Propulsion and their work with Tesla even before the MINI E was announced. <br />Snehal will use all his skill and knowledge to produce a very informative and fun web video series about a car that he has fallen in love with – the MINI E!<br /><br />
  3. 3. So what’s Snehal going to do to show his love for the MINI E? <br />Three things: <br />He has vowed to purchase no new car before he buys a production-ready MINI E (or whatever it will be called).<br />He has built a radio-controlled replica of the MINI E that he uses to spark conversations about the viability of owning an electric car.<br />“Did you know that R/C cars now have new battery and motor technologies them to run for almost an hour on a charge and go over 60 miles per hour? Man that’s fast! The most the old gen batteries lasted was 10 to 15 minutes and I could never break 40 mph.”<br />He has decided to document the MINI E experiment and show as much of the process as possible. He wants to get all the stories - from the first-time owner (leasee) getting her MINI E delivered, to the Flying Doctor who is called out for a major emergency repair job. <br />MINI says: “A TV show? Really?”<br /> Snehal says: “Of course! But for the internet.”<br /> <br />A very nicely produced 3 to 4 minute HD show meant for the YouTube/internet-TV audience. The show starts with a radio controlled MINI E traversing some urban terrain until it finds a hanger. It runs into the hanger and plays around until it comes to a dead halt. Camera pulls back to reveal the radio controlled (R/C) Mini head-to-head with a REAL MINI E! The MINI E honks it’s horn “Hello!” – very cute… LOGO – “The MINI E Show”<br /><br />
  4. 4. What kind of story are you telling?<br /> <br />First episode– Snehal shows everyone how the basic parts of the radio controlled (R/C) car mirror the parts in a real MINI E. They both have battery packs to store energy, a controller to change how much of that energy gets transferred to the motor, and a motor that propels the car forward. (*MINI’s Jenny from Marketing thinks to herself: “Hmm, Snehal’skinda cute in a nerdy fun way…wonder if he’s got a girlfriend?”)<br /> <br />Josh Ross, handsome Motoring Advisor at Nick Alexander Imports in Los Angeles, welcomes Snehal and his pretty friend Dhara. Josh is going to show Snehal and Dhara one of the MINI Es before it is delivered to a owner. This one is number 024. Exciting!<br /> <br />Snehal takes a look under the hood and points out the basic parts of the car. Dhara gets to go<br />on a test drive with Josh and has a blast accelerating with all that instant torque! Her hair flies back as she takes a corner with MINI Ease. <br /> <br />All three pose for a photo in front of MINI E number 024. This is definitely a historic moment!<br />The show ends with Dhara and Josh fighting over the remote control for Snehal’s R/C MINI E in a Benny Hill-esque, 15 second montage. This plays under the credits for the show. Nice huh?<br />R/C car branding – Tamaiya USA already manufactures a variety of Mini Cooper radio controlled models. They can easily manufacture new MINI E bodies for these models. Check them out at<br /><br />
  5. 5. WHAT HAPPENS IN THE OTHER EPISODES?<br />  <br />Second Episode – We meet Jan Sherman of Sherman Oaks, California. She’s leasing the MINI E for a year and today she get’s the delivery of her car. Wow! Jan did a lot of research in electric cars and driving patterns while waiting to find out if she qualified for the program. She has mapped out all her driving routes to makes sure she has enough “juice” (as she calls it) co come back home in one round trip. Smart lady. Her husband is an avid golfer and a die-hard fan of his vintage Porche, but Jan convinces him to take Snehal golfing in her MINI E. The clubs fit! Israel and Snehal have a lot of fun. Seems like Jan had an agenda huh? It’s cool, cuz Israel and Jan both get to play with Snehal’s R/C MINI E.<br /> <br />Third Episode – Meet the “flying doctors!” A helicopter ride to rescue an ailing MINI E in picturesque New York.<br />Forth Episode– How are these things made? Snehal visits A/C Propulsion in California. We get to witness exciting improvements in the <br />battery and controller technology made possible by this experiment.<br /> <br />Fifth Episode – The birth of the electric MINI. Snehal makes a trip to Germany and visits the Mini Cooper museum and engineering plant.<br /> <br />Sixth Episode – Snehal meets Kalvin James of Orange County, California. He’s going to do a “pass-the-baton” with a whole bunch of MINI E owners. Basically he will drive from his house in the south to as far north as possible in California, stopping to recharge his MINI E at other MINI E owner homes. He met all these people on the MINI E blog that the owners can access. <br />Future Episode Ideas - Electric Vs. Hybrid, Perks, Day in the life of, Driving, Reliability, Safety, Manufacturing, Engineering, Fun Factor, Owner Swap Meets, Electric car developments worldwide, Environmental advantages…<br /><br />
  6. 6. How Often and how much?<br />  <br />MINI says: “You know what? This does sound interesting, and not really all that difficult to accomplish. So how many episodes and how often were you thinking Snehal?”<br /> <br />Snehal says: “1 new episode each week because statistically, the most successful web producers sustain a weekly posting of videos. This allows the new viewer to become interested at any point in the broadcast and encourages old viewers to come back week after week for new stuff. Online shows are archived so you can watch any episode you want but if you stop making new stuff, your viewers disappear.<br />The MINI Show should be supported with the following to make the maximum impact: an interactive blog, a database of technical details and analysis, a social networking component and prize giveaways - what about purchasing R/C MINI Es to give away in contests?”<br />MINI says: “OK, that sounds good, but how much will this Internet TV Show cost us?”<br /> <br />Snehal says: “Here are the numbers below.”<br /><br />
  7. 7. What do these numbers mean?<br />  <br />First, here is the monthly cost of making 4 episodes in HD quality:<br /><br />
  8. 8. The packages explained<br />  <br />“minimum package - $87,000” - Since costs like equipment and travel have to be spread out over a longer time period to be economical, a minimum commitment of 3 months of episodes is required for this show. This includes a 3 week lead time before the first episode is complete. A total of 12 episodes that can be broken up during the experiment’s timeline in the following way: One month of episodes in the beginning of the experiment, one month in the middle and one month at the end of the experiment OR all episodes during first three month of the experiment OR three months at the end OR any combination you can think of. Just keep in mind that episodes will come in packs of 4 – a month of programming – at a time.<br /> <br />“alpha omega package - $156,600” – Lets be real for a second, we definitely should spread the word about this phenomenon. The internet is the same tool our current president used to raise a bulk of his campaign funds, so lets do the same for MINI’s brand equity. This package gets you 6 months of coverage, split up in any fashion. You also get a trip <br />overseas to Germany, which doesn’t come in the “minimum package.”<br /> <br />“true science package - $345,100” - Alright! Now we’re talkin’. A complete start-to-finish encapsulation of the experiment with lots of good stories, plenty of re-visits to MINI E drivers and a close examination of the things we learn from this experiment. That’s a full 14 months of episodes that start now and end even after the experiment is over, because everyone knows that there will be SO much to talk about when it’s done. Maybe the production MINI E will already be in the works by then. Since the price is discounted, you are essentially getting a couple of months of programming for free.<br /><br />
  9. 9. A Documentary you say?<br />  <br />MINI says: “We’re almost convinced that we should spend some money on this because we see the marketing value. There’s just one thing, can we MAKE money working with you?”<br /> <br />Snehal says: “Sure! I wouldn’t have it any other way. Go for the last package.”<br /> <br />“documented genius package - $545,100” – A true full-fledged documentary about the MINI E experiment – complete with historical footage of the original mini up through the reissue by BMW and focused on the MINI E. The story of the documentary is the enthusiast Snehal Patel’s trip to find out everything possible about the MINI E experiment and his dream to own one. Electrical cars are real and viable and Snehal wants everyone to know that the MINI E proves just that.<br /> <br />What Snehal needs is three months after the all episodes of “the MINI E Show” are complete to edit together a well-researched documentary with a <br />good musical score, a well written story and all the cool interviews, driving footage, technical 3D models, graphics, explanations and driver data that we would already have. He has experience producing and distributing documentaries so he knows what he is talking about. <br />Take a look at this chart:<br /> <br /><br />
  10. 10. Can we sell this thing?<br />  <br />Once you have a package that is digestible (in the present market, this is still DVDs), you can sell through your own distribution network – Mini Dealers. Either as a dealer exclusive video or as a video that comes with your MINI as a $50 line item that goes into the price of the car. So how many MINIs do you sell a year? Around 40 to 50,000? And what if all of them came with a video you charge $50 for? (*MINI’s George from accounting likes what he is hearing and nods his head.)<br />The DVD chart above has a revenue goal of $250K if you sell 10,000 units. The potential is way over that, so on the high end you can make a lot of money just with DVDs.<br /> <br />There’s more – encapsulated into a one-hour TV show, this documentary can easily play on Discovery channel, HD Channel, History or any other cable network. Don’t forget PBS. Sell some territories, make some money. Sell a lot of territories, as represented by a potential of 50 showings, and make a bunch more money.<br /> <br />Foreign distribution –there is a large foreign market in mostly European countries for good documentary films. Single territories don’t fetch a lot for documentaries, but selling a number of territories will definitely net some good returns.<br /> <br />Revenue Potential – The smart choice would be spend money on a product that has a chance of being sold. The internet video series definitely has marketing value and will no doubt enhance brand equity, but to cover your bets, you have the choice of at any time deciding to upgrade to the “documented genius package”and set yourselves up for big returns in the future.<br /> <br />Look Familiar?<br /><br />
  11. 11. Who is the face?<br />  <br />MINI says: “A documentary about the MINI E… That does sound interesting. But Snehal, you want to star in it? Are you sure? Shouldn’t we get some good-looking female personality to do it? Is this a deal breaker?”<br /> <br />Snehal says: “It’s not a deal breaker – but it is an informed suggestion. Take a look at these stats:”<br />Six of the top ten grossing documentaries of all time are hosted by a male personality that is knowledgeable about the subject matter. Looks don’t matter either – Bill Maher & Michael Moore definitely won’t win most handsome-man contests. (*MINI’s Jenny from Marketing thinks to herself: “So, Snehal’s good looks are kinda like a bonus really…”)<br /><br />
  12. 12. what makes snehal qualified?<br />  <br />Fourteen years of experience in Film, Television, Marketing, Advertising, Design, Web, Writing, Art, Photography and Having a Good Time.<br />Snehal is willing to sustain a year long project of this nature with the utmost dedication to quality of look and sound. He has a back ground in science and technology, a long list of credits in the field and is a really nice guy to work with – ask anyone!<br />He was one of the producers of Google Me ( ), a fun romp around the world to find a connection to a the name Jim Killeen. He also runs a successful internet video web site with comedian Eric Schwartz:<br /> <br />His friend, actor Gary Anthony Williams, has gotten Snehal to produce a pilot for a TV show (, and a short film ( that’s popular at festivals. Oh yeah, be sure to check out a cool film festival that Snehal is the technical director for:<br />You can see a lot of Snehal’s work as a video/film director & producer on his site at:<br /> <br />You can see Snehal’s work as a professional photographer at – he loves to photograph cars so that comes with the package. Think online photo album of the show.)<br /> <br />There probably isn’t anyone more perfect for this project. Let Snehal take the world through a journey that begins with the MINI E and ends with an electric car revolution. <br /> <br />MINI says: “The documentary is a great idea, but what if we decided to go with only the web videos. Are their any long term benefits for this?.”<br /> <br />Snehal says: “Uh huh. Commercials!”<br />MINI says: “Oh yeah! We would have tons of license-free footage that we wouldn’t have to pay residuals for…a ‘Pioneers of the MINI E’ ad campaign…”<br /><br />
  13. 13. MINI says: “Well Snehal, we like the idea. Give us some time to think about it.” Snehal says: “Sure, but don’t wait too long!”<br />Snehal Patelcontact:<br /><br />