The Life Ball MINI is traditionally created by the fashion designer responsible for the fashion show in the opening event - and in 2008, this was the British lingerie label Agent Provocateur. This year, the new MINI Cooper Clubman was selected as the basis for this exclusive, unique design. "The new shape is so reminiscent of the old English Mini police van that we were immediately inspired to create an Agent Provocateur styled interior that you really would want to get banged up in! A classic yet suped up exterior in Agent Provocateur signature pink and black colours complete with pink flashing light and inside.....the most seductive prison cell with hand to wall cuffs and blacked out windows and iron bars", says Agent Provocateur founder Joseph Corre.

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The unique - and escape-proof - Life Ball MINI will once again be auctioned on eBay, as happens each year. It all starts on Thursday, 5 June - and then MINI and Agent Provocateur fans throughout the world have the opportunity for ten days to buy this unique car and do something for charity too. The total proceeds from the auction will be donated, as always, to Life Ball and to projects aimed at combating HIV/AIDS. So far, the auction of the "Life Ball MINIs" - transformed by such famous fashion icons as Diesel, Missoni, Ferré and Versace - has raised a total of € 260,000.-.

Worldwide measures to combat HIV/AIDS are one of the main elements of the corporate and social policy pursued by the BMW Group. The company's involvement in South Africa is particularly wide-ranging, covering a comprehensive workplace programme for employees and their families, plus a number of different projects in the local communities and further afield.

But the automobile manufacturer is also committed to fighting this pandemic in other affected countries, such as Thailand or China, for example. The company's membership of the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS (GBC) underlines its long-term commitment at its individual locations.

"By supporting Vienna's Life Ball, the MINI brand is going its own way and making its own very individual contribution to the fight against this auto-immune disease", says Andreas-Christoph Hofmann, Head of Brand Communication MINI, commenting on the brand's involvement here. "The Life Ball brings the pandemic back into the public's awareness each year in a very emotional way, and the auction of each uniquely designed MINI produces a major financial contribution to projects aimed at fighting HIV/AIDS."

Half of the proceeds will be donated to national projects in Austria. The other half will be used to benefit international projects, with allocation of funds regulated by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).