Last year, Jan Wilker and Hjalti Karlsson of NYC’s karlssonwilker inc. were asked to develop ideas to celebrate the launch of MINI’s latest model the Coupe. One quite “self-serving” notion was to go on a road trip, through countries they wanted to explore, meet with creatives along the way, and take the various countries’ “creative temperature.” You can see it here. I asked Wilker some pertinent questions about this adventure, all the while wondering why him and not me?!!
What a great idea. And MINI/BMW bought into it. We decided quickly to take a trip through south eastern Europe, the Balkans. Overall, promoting a car by driving it and enjoying the ride seemed to make sense. There was a live-blog all throughout our trip where people could follow us on our little daily adventures.
What was involved in the travel from Munich to Istanbul? We planned to drive between around 8 to 10 hours every day to every other day. We thought the constant driving would be tough but it ended up being one of our favorite things, meeting people on the road, taking frequent breaks, enjoying the beautiful hilly roads of Romania, the long stretches brand new highway in coastal Greece. The cars were very powerful, very agile and fast; so we had a blast. Of course arriving after a long day on the road, then meeting interesting people over local food was just as amazing. The team consisted of a videographer, photographer, writer, and tour producer. Three cars, two people in each car.
Was there carte blanche? Or did you have marching (or driving) orders to follow? MINI/BMW was very hands-off. We all agreed that it would need to be a mix of planned encounters with creatives from all walks of life en route, and enough time in between to let unscripted, random things happen; with no clear guarantee of success.
What has been the response? The direct response during our trip was quite overwhelming—first of all we didn’t expect the huge amount of people that are just fans of MINI. We got so many thumbs up, headlight flashers, waves and smiles, and when not driving, questions, shout-outs, smiles, conversations. Half about the car, the other about us being in their respective country, why, for how long, if we like it, etc. Overall it was a beautiful, human experience. Through the blog and now through the site and the special insert into Matter magazine [below], we get comments from all over the world, similar to the responses we got during the trip, plus the one or the other “I’m jealous” comment.
That’s me! I’m jealous.
[Author’s note: It may just be my computer, but the page loads are a little slow.]
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