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Press Release


SPCA dogs take to the wheel of a MINI Countryman to drive adoptions.

  • 14.12.2012
Contained media data:

Auckland, New Zealand.  On Monday December 10th at 7pm local time three SPCA* rescue dogs, Monty, Porter and Ginny, got behind the wheel of a MINI Countryman Cooper S and proved you can teach an old dog new tricks.    This world first was shown live on New Zealand’s leading current affairs programme, Campbell Live, and was intended to raise awareness for the SPCA to help change some common misconceptions about rescue or shelter dogs. 


MINI NZ has long been a supporter of the SPCA and earlier this year tasked their advertising agency, DraftFCB, with developing a campaign that would really make a difference. The Driving Dogs concept was a perfect integration.


“The campaign has been a monumental success with people talking about SPCA rescue dogs in news and social media all over the world. We hope that Porter, Monty and Ginny learning to drive a MINI Countryman will encourage people to make the SPCA their first choice when adopting a dog”, said Simonne Mearns, Brand Manager of MINI NZ.


The ‘Driving Dogs’ collaboration between SPCA Auckland, acclaimed animal trainer Mark Vette from Animals on Q, MINI New Zealand and DraftFCB, began just two months ago when the three dogs were selected from SPCA Auckland.


After eight weeks of training at the Animal on Q headquarters the clever canines single pawedly accelerated down a straight road, maneuvered around a corner, straightened up and finished with a confident paw brake.


“The bigger MINI Countryman was the perfect model for our drivers, four doors for four paws.  After modifying it slightly Monty, Porter and Ginny were able to reach the pedals, move the gear stick and grip the steering wheel.   MINI is renowned for personalising vehicles, however, customising the MINI Countryman for a furry,

four-legged driver was an all time first”, said Ms Mearns.


“We are delighted with the outcome of the Driving Dogs project.  MINI as a brand is full of energy, extroverted and cheeky; this campaign reinforces this and demonstrates how gifted, talented and intelligent SPCA animals really are. We hope it will encourage people to consider SPCA dogs for pets, raise awareness and drive adoptions”, said Mearns.


You can find out more about the dogs by visiting drivingdogs.co.nz  meet Monty, Porter and Ginny online, watch videos of the training, and find out about their local SPCA and how to adopt. You can also follow us on Twitter @drivingdogs #drivingdogs or subscribe to our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/thedrivingdogs.



CAUTION: In the interest of everyone's safety, please don't try to teach your dog to drive. Porter, Ginny and Monty were trained in a safe, controlled environment under the guidance of professionals. All training was conducted with animal safety as top priority in a specially modified vehicle.


*Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals


Notes to editors:

  • All media materials are available at www.draftfcb.co.nz/drivingdogs password:drivingdogs
  • Visit drivingdogs.co.nz to see videos of the dogs learning to drive and to find out  more about your local SPCA and how to adopt
  • Check out our Twitter page @drivingdogs #drivingdogs
  • The Auckland SPCA cares for over 18,000 Animals each year


For further information, please contact:

Simonne Mearns, MINI Brand Manager

Mobile +64 21 289 6464, email simonne.mearns@mini.co.nz


If you have any questions regarding this press release, please contact:

BMW Group
Nathalie Bauters

Tel.: +1-201-930-3166
E-mail: nathalie.bauters@miniusa.com

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