Cannes Lions



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MINI was by no means first to market with an electric car. So to launch this important new vehicle for this iconic brand we needed to find an approach that would allow us to stand out from the crowd in a way that didn’t rely on new news, product features and range statistics.

To do that we leaned in to the brand’s core belief: that the power of human irrationality can improve the world through brilliant creativity. We knew that this mindset would appeal to our target of creative urban communities, but we also knew that in order to land our point of view with them an ‘ad’ wouldn’t be enough. We had to demonstrate our commitment to creativity in the most authentic and bold way possible.


We enlisted Oscar winner Yorgos Lanthimos, director of The Favourite and The Lobster, to write and direct a short film starring Oscar-nominated actor Matt Dillon. But what makes this film particularly unique is our approach to making it. In order to truly demonstrate MINI’s commitment to lateral thinking we gave our director the freedom to think laterally in making the film - just as MINI does when it creates cars. That meant no prescribed narrative, no casting brief - and not even a mandatory shot of the car. Just a pure expression of creativity designed to engage the audience in an authentic way.

Titled NIMIC (which means 'nothing' in Romanian), the film tells the story of a middle-aged cellist, played by Dillon, encountering a mysterious young woman on the subway, leading to surreal and reach-reaching ramifications on his life."


Our strategy was to demonstrate our brand point of view to the same influential creative community who had put the iconic brand at the heart of the cultural zeitgeist in the 1960s – film makers.

We knew that this audience would be difficult to reach through more traditional channels, and would be cynical about content created by brands seeking to attach themselves to ‘creativity’. So we didn't want to just talk about lateral thinking to our audience - we wanted to create a film that made them experience it.


The film first premiered at the Locarno film festival and has been greeted with worldwide acclaim. Since then it has been in the official selection at over 130 global film festivals including TIFF, The Cannes Film Festival and BFI film festival in London amongst others. Following its success on the festival circuit it now exclusively screening on MUBI and has further upcoming placements on other streaming platforms including Canal + in France and Spain.


By creating a film that made a genuine contribution to culture we were able to access an audience of over 10 million people on a streaming platform that prides itself on having ‘no ads’.

And most importantly we managed to authentically insert the MINI brand into earned media conversations in a way that represents a different way for brands evidenced by the quote below from Sight & Sound magazine:

‘Despite car manufacturer Mini getting a closing ‘in partnership with’ credit, this isn’t a spon-con advertorial like The Staggering Girl, or Wes Anderson’s films for H&M and Prada, or Martin Scorsese’s absurd $70 million-budgeted promo for a Macau casino-resort. There’s a reassuring absence of automobile-related content in Nimic to assuage fears that we are being sold a product by subterfuge’.

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