MINI USA set out to artfully illustrate that the 2019 MINI Countryman has enough space and versatility for even the biggest adventures. The campaign needed to target MINI's core audience, urban "creative" professionals, who pick a vehicle not just for its functional benefits, but for its design aesthetic.
The automaker challenged stop-motion animator Kirsten Lepore and Brooklyn-based diorama-duo Nix + Gerber to create short films in their signature styles. But there was a catch: The intricate works of art were entirely created and filmed inside the rear cargo area of the surprisingly spacious 2019 MINI Countryman.
Using handmade models and paper cut outs coupled with their own unique animation techniques, both artists created their own beautiful adventure-scape – for "Underwater" Kirsten Lepore embarked on an exploration of an entire underwater world, and for "Camping" Nix + Gerber crafted a perspective-bending intergalactic camping trip.
Each of the intricate, labour-intensive executions took about three days to craft and film, and utilized unique approaches to tactile, hand-crafted works of art intended to be displayed through multiple digital channels.
Nix + Gerber's campsite dioramas were shaped using various types of foam, wire, flock, dirt and rocks, while characters like the miniature astronauts were sculpted with a bake-able polymer clay that took three full days to set and dry. Kirsten Lepore's aquatic adventure was designed using 20 sheets of high-grade paper reinforced with everything from toothpicks and skewers to large wooden dowels, while an overlay of plexiglass gave the ocean a shimmering quality throughout the 672 hand-placed frames required to create the film.
The campaign ran across Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and YouTube – on both MINI USA's channels as well as the artists' channels. The quality and creativity of the concepts conceived by the artists aligned well with MINI's design philosophy around the creative use of space, and its support of art and culture. While small car demand is down across the industry, MINI Countryman sales are up 29%.
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