To launch its new Hatch, Mini New Zealand recently embarked on a mission to bring a slice of Kiwi cinema history back to life. And after asking Kiwis to show their true Blondini colours, participate in a few challenges and compete to win a place in the passenger seat during the reshooting of Goodbye Pork Pie's classic chase scene around Lake Hawea, it's now moved on to the second phase of the campaign and released some behind-the-scenes footage of the shoot.
23-year-old Wellingtonian Vincent Blake Chilton won the starring role, beating out close to 2,000 entries in a nationwide competition after his audition tape captured the eye of director Matt Murphy, the son of the original film’s director, Geoff Murphy.
Fittingly, Blake Chilton, a freelance filmmaker, was born and bred in Invercargill and says he was a huge fan of the original movie and had just recently watched it again.
“Vincent proved he had the perfect combination of Blondini and Mini attitude in his audition video where he boldly repeated the film’s classic line, 'we’re taking this car to Invercargill'," says Simonne Mearns, Mini's marketing manager. "He also bravely partook in other ‘Blondini Gang’ initiations via our dedicated Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 website and through social media."
Mearns says the campaign, one of the first major projects for BMW/Mini's new agencies DDB and Dynamo, has come together beautifully and, despite creating some pretty high barriers to entry with all the requirements and challenges, she was very happy with the number of entries and the level of chatter about the campaign on social channels, with an "astronomical" rise in the number of comments, likes and shares through Facebook. She says there's also been a good amount of PR coverage about the campaign, but she expects that to increase when the new shot is screened on 17 June.
- Check out some stills from the shoot here.
She admits campaigns that rely on consumer participation are risky, but it's a "calculated risk" and as it had the buy-in of the dealer network as well as the German overlords, she says everyone involved was confident it would deliver the results, both in terms of sales and raising the profile of the movie.
"Yes, there's risk, but we have to keep trying these things. I think there's more risk in just doing the same thing again and again."
She says the new Mini Hatch is quite a difficult proposition to communicate, because, at first glance, it looks similar to the previous iteration. But up close it is actually filled with a bunch of new features, so it "needed a reason to talk about the car".
"That's what the movie has given us. There's a little bit of Blondini in the brand; asking for forgiveness not permission, although don't get me wrong, we got permission for this campaign ... It doesn't feel like an ad. We're not making a commercial. We've set out to create some excitement around what Mini stands for."
Another challenge was the fact that the campaign was based around something that happened in the '80s, so it had to try and bring back what the movie stands for and show that to a new audience that may not have seen it.
"And we have certainly managed to do that. The cheeky attitude in the movie still rings true for Mini."
Overseas, Mini generally appeals to younger drivers and is less skewed towards females than it is in this market. Mearns says the performance elements of certain Mini products, particularly the Cooper S and the John Cooper Works, certainly appeal to Kiwi males "who are quite secure in who they are". But she would love to have more men in Minis and the remake is a good way of getting in front of them and giving them a very tangible example of Mini's "adult go-kart" philosophy.
Overall, she says Mini is going great guns at the moment and is starting to reap the rewards of "some of the things it's been trying in the past few years". Last year, she says it sold 500 new cars compared to 400 the year before. And, as all marketers know, that success means the expectations for this year are even greater.
"We've got to keep it going," she says.
One of the "big picture goals" is for the Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 campaign to put the movie back on the radar and help facilitate a full remake, something that has been on the table since 2012 (the movie screened in a number of countries when it was released and, if it gets the go ahead, the team are keen to see it released outside New Zealand). She says the movie is "our Italian Job", and the global Mini team got behind that remake in a big way. So if there was scope to do a full remake of this film, then "we'd be right behind it," she says.
The remade scene was shot a few weeks ago and featured Australia's premier stunt coordinator Harry Dakanalis as the ‘cop’ in hot pursuit of the car driven by senior BMW Instructor Mike Eady. Thankfully, Mearns says, there was no need to dip into the budget for any car repairs or replacements, unlike the original film, which DDB's recently retired don Sandy Moore was involved in through his role as head of advertising at the NZ Motor Corporation.
As the Herald reported:
Moore read the first pages of the script and thought it was a great promotion for Mini, which of course it was.
"But I didn't read the script about what happened to the cars for the rest of the movie," he says.
When the vehicles came back, they were not in great shape. "One of the cars was blown up, which we knew, and one was okay. As for the third, I thought it best to not return it to bosses in that shape."
Instead, he bought the Mini himself and gave it to his wife, who kept it for three years.
In addition to being part of the remake, Blake Chilton will also get to drive the new Mini for a month and test out some of the skills picked up from the shoot’s drivers. Perhaps he'll be inspired to take the car to Invercargill?
- The scene will be shown in a private premiere on June 17, before being released to the public via Mini's Goodbye Pork Pie 2014 website.