Names like Mini do not evoke extreme sports, high-performance cars and human flight, but the company seems to be out to change that with a new viral ad campaign featuring the Mini Countryman and a man in a flying-squirrel suit soaring off of a mountain and over the desert.

The ad campaign features the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman, Mini's new track-munching all-wheel drive sport model. Although the car does not go on sale until the fall of 2012, it will feature a powerful but diminutive four-cylinder, turbocharged engine that produces 211 horsepower, and the company says it will be capable of a 0 to 62 mph time of 7.1 seconds and a top speed of 127 mph.

Powerful but diminutive seems to be point Mini is seeking to communicate with its ads, and it's hard not to be impressed by the flying-squirrel man launching himself from the back of the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman into the vast freedom of the desert skies. Except that the ad tells us very little about the performance of the car, but a great deal about the quality of Mini's marketing team.

The early technical details from the company bode well for the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman, and its sport mode and suspension support the idea that it will be an enjoyable driver's car. The Mini World Rally Championship team races a Mini John Cooper Works WRC car based on a Mini Countryman, although the rally car boasts significantly higher horsepower and does not have ABS, among other differences. The John Cooper Works division at Mini, itself a division of BMW, handles race development for the company.

While the actual quality of the Mini John Cooper Works Countryman's performance and handling remain to be seen, the ads still provide an entertaining flight of fancy for imaginative car lovers.