Mini is diving into the world of virtual reality storytelling with two noir-ish short films that can be viewed in 360 degrees or through a VR viewer.
Two six-minute shorts, "Real Memories" and "Backwater," are running on YouTube and the campaign website in more than 20 countries worldwide. The films, which are being promoted through YouTube pre-rolls and on social media, were created by Berlin and New York-based agency KKLD and production company Unit9.
Real Memories is a pyschological thriller with touches of "Memento" and "The Bourne Identity," while "Backwater" combines a heist gone wrong with a love story (see the trailer here). A mustard-colored Mini plays a starring, but not too obtrusively commercial, role in both.
Shot by Unit9 director Gevorg Karensky in Barcelona using a custom stereo rig with nine Red Dragon cameras (and a GoPro camera rig for scenes inside the car), the films can be viewed in 360 degrees online or on any smartphone using theYouTube app. They will be available shortly for Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift virtual-reality viewers.
As part of the global marketing campaign, Mini plans to distribute 140,000 free Virtual Reality Cardboard Viewers worldwide, based on the new version of Google Cardboard (check the website for where they are available). In a statement, BMW Group said Mini aimed to "become the first brand ever to harness the huge potential of virtual-reality technology for top-quality storytelling" and to underscore its positioning "as an innovative company that explores new directions in communications."